Fulfilling a long felt demand, the State government has granted administrative sanction for extension, renovation and modernisation of the Kattalai High-Level Canal (KHLC), a major irrigation canal in Karur and Tiruchi districts, at an estimated cost of ₹335.50 crore.
The KHLC, a contour canal, carries water from the Cauvery river at Mayanur in Karur district to Thayanur in Tiruchi district, a distance of about 62 km, and irrigates 23,774 acres in Karur and Tiruchi districts. Of this, 20,186 acres were in Karur district and the remaining area came under Tiruchi district. The designed discharge at the head regulator of the canal is 411 cusecs. Farmers dependent on the canal, especially those on the tail-end areas, have been demanding removal of the accumulated silt and also the modernisation of the KHLC as they had been facing problems getting water for irrigation every season over the past several years. The issue has been repeatedly raised in the monthly farmers’ grievances meetings in Tiruchi and Karur over the past few years.
“Over the years, the canal has been heavily silted up, preventing the water flow. Farmers in Koundampatti, Kurichi, Mudalaipatti and other villages in the tail-end areas of the canal get meagre flow every year. The sill level of the canal has increased and the bunds of the canal had weakened. There is a need to build retaining walls and strengthen the sluices and other irrigation infrastructure of the canal. We express our gratitude to the government for sanctioning the project acting on our request,” said ‘Koundampatti’ R. Subramanian, deputy secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, who have long been lobbying for the cause. Mr. Subramanian pointed out that he had made a representation on the demand to the then District Collector way back in 2013. The government has made a financial sanction of ₹40 crore for the project in the current financial year and the remaining sum is to be released in subsequent years. However, the Public Works Department has been instructed to send a proposal to the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) to get financial assistance under the bank’s Rural Infrastructure Development Fund.
In case, the NABARD declines assistance, the State government would fund the project. While underlining the need for maintenance of the canal, the GO issued by the PWD pointed out that the water distribution system was very old and in a dilapidated condition. There were considerable erosion of bund leading to wastage of water, making it impossible to ensure equitable distribution of water to the tail-end areas. This also reduced the irrigation efficiency and subsequent low productivity. The project proposes to modernise 139 out of the 174 structures, including regulators, inlets and outlets, sluices, siphons, masonry and tunnels. Twenty-five other structures would be rehabilitated. The project envisages providing canal lining for its entire length and modernise some tributaries and drainages at vulnerable locations. The Forest Department would plant avenue trees along the canal banks. After the modernisation, the system efficiency is expected to improve to 60% from the current 40%.
According to the GO, the Central Water Commission has granted in-principle consent for preparation of a detailed project report (DPR) for taking up an improvement and rehabilitation scheme in the sub-basins of the Cauvery. The DPR submitted by the Chief Engineer, Plan Formulation, PWD was vetted in line with the CWC guidelines.However, work on the project is expected to be taken up only after the end of the current irrigation season in January.
(source : The Hindu)