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pwd has forwarded a proposal to remove the silt accumulation at a estimated cost of ₹17 crore with World Bank assistance

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Amidst calls from farmers for desilting the Ponnaniyar dam situated on the border of Tiruchi and Karur districts, the Public Works Department has forwarded a proposal to the government to remove the silt accumulation from the reservoir at an estimated cost of ₹17 crore with World Bank assistance.

The dam is located in the hilly Kadavur region of Karur district. Set in sylvan surroundings, about 66 km from Tiruchi, the dam is nestled between Perumal Malai and Semmalai.

While the dam and its catchment area are located in Karur district, the ayacut area of the dam is spread over Mugavanur panchayat and neighbouring villages in Tiruchi district. The dam has an ayacut of 1,850 acres, mostly dry land, according to PWD officials though farmers claim that nearly 2,100 acres are dependent on the reservoir for irrigation.

The dam was built in 1974 and rain flows from the Kadavur region forms its main water source. The catchment area is spread over 33.60 square miles. The dam has a storage capacity of 120 million cubic feet (mcft).

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Farmers have long been clamouring for desilting the canal and the issue was raised at several farmers’ grievances meetings. Farmers of the region have also been demanding the dredging of the supply channels. “There is heavy silt accumulation in the dam, which was last opened for irrigation in 2012. It is time the silt was removed to ensure water storage to its full capacity,” said A. Durairasu, deputy secretary of the MDMK’s farmers wing, who belongs to the Manapparai region.

A few years back, the dam was renovated under the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP) funded by the World Bank. Various parts of the dam structure were repaired and strengthened at a cost of about ₹2.50 crore as part of the rehabilitation and improvement works. Although minor projects to develop the dam as a picnic spot were executed previously, the ₹2.50 crore-work was the first major renovation to be taken up on the structure

Sources in the Ariyar Division of the PWD told that a proposal to desilt the reservoir has been forwarded to the government. The work is estimated to entail an investment of ₹17 crore and the PWD has planned to seek assistance under DRIP again. The PWD has also planned to deposit the removed silt on the agricultural fields irrigated by the dam. “The silt will be very useful to farmers as it will help nurture their fields,” an official from the department pointed out.

(source : The Hindu)

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