Keezhbavani farmers welfare association president lawyer C Nallasamy appealed to the government to withdraw Rs 740 crore Keezhbavani canal (Lower Bavani Project-LBP)concretisation plan.
He said that Keezhbavani Dam is the 2nd largest dam in Tamil Nadu. Built dam and cut canals are made of soil. The project report states that the project is a groundwater augmentation project.
The total irrigated area is 2,07,000 acres. The canal is designed to drain only 1,03,500 acres at a time. The practice is to open the water “from one tap to the other”.
When 1,03,500 acres are directly irrigated, irrigation water is indirectly obtained by groundwater enrichment for wells on 1,03,500 acres that have not been opened.
The scheme also helps 38 water harnessing schemes and the irrigation (approximately 60,000 acres) wells drilled beyond the restricted distance to the right of the main canal.
Excess water from Keezhbavani irrigation is used as irrigation water for Kodiveri irrigation in the north and Kalingarayan irrigation in the south and mixes in Cauvery. It is used as irrigation water for delta districts and also as drinking water for Veeranam and Chennai. The water that opens does not go to sea in vain.
The project has been hailed in the Cauvery judgment as a model project.
In 2013, when Jayalalithaa’s was chief minister, it was planned to turn the canal into a concrete canal. The project was abandoned due to protests by irrigation beneficiaries.
Now, the foundation stone for the project was laid by the Prime Minister of India on 25-02-2021, demanding a tender in the name of expansion, renovation and modernization without mentioning concretisation, after 7 years.
The concrete canal project in the PAP project has failed. All the concrete slabs embedded in the canal in the Mullaperiyaru project have disappeared.
The conversion of the much-appreciated canal project into a concrete canal will stop groundwater enrichment and ruin the purpose of the project and waste money. And the chief canal
In the contour canal (level canal) water stagnates and flows slowly enriching the ground water. Converting it into a concrete canal alone will not carry water to the ryots in tail end areas.
It is necessary to carry the appropriate irrigation water to the outlets at the same time.
For this purpose, the right bank of the main canal can be widened to 12 feet to carry 2,700 cubic feet instead of 2,300 cubic feet of water per second.
There are culverts only on the banks of the left canal. Therefore, raising and widening the right bank and constructing a 124-mile-long tarred road along the bank of the canal would be a great help in canal monitoring, maintenance, and water theft prevention work.
The above changes can be done with half of the allocated Rs 740 cr. Groundwater enrichment is not affected at all. There will be no canal break in the future.
If modified in this way, the environment will not be affected. For this the illegal occupations must first be removed. It is necessary to plant palms along the border in order to avoid future encroachments.
Groundwater enrichment trend from rainwater harvesting project should continue.
It would alone check intrusion of contaminated salt water from the Noyyal River into the fields. Therefore, to ensure the livelihood of Keezhbavani farmers, the government should abandon the Keezhbavani concrete project, he pleaded.