Tamil Nadu farmers agitated over another riparian dispute

June 29th, 2008 - 12:37 am ICT by IANS  

Vellore (Tamil Nadu), June 28 (IANS) Farmers in Tamil Nadu Saturday threatened to block road links with Andhra Pradesh to protest its “plans” to build minor and major dams over interstate rivers. “We have witnessed government officials acquiring land for fresh canals from upcoming check-dams on the Palar river and other rivulets in neighbouring Chittoor district in Andhra Pradesh. A massive amount of money has been earmarked to compensate landowners. So our only alternative is to launch an agitation,” said S. Vinayagam, a farmer’s leader here.

“Our brothers in Dharmapuri, Krishnagiri and Thanjavur are already penalised for being on the downstream part of the Cauvery river. Now we have become victims of selfishness on the part of people beyond our state’s borders,” he added.

Armed with pictures of yellow-markings on trees, stone-borders to identify the paths of the canals and documents indicating funds worth Rs.600 million earmarked for land acquisition from neighbouring districts across the state border, famrers’ organisations here have threatened to block road traffic to and from Andhra Pradesh.

Chronically short of water, Vellore district’s woes have been compounded by effluents from hundreds of tanneries that have polluted the scarce groundwater in the vicinity.

The Palar rises in Karnataka’s Kolar district and passes through Andhra Pradesh and north Tamil Nadu. It has seven tributaries.

The river’s waters are part of an 1892 agreement prohibiting creations of upstream dams (now in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh) due to its short spans in those states - 93 and 43 km respectively.

Its waters are meant to irrigate lands along its 222 km journey through Tamil Nadu, the state government has been arguing since 2007, when Andhra Pradesh began constructing yet another dam across the river.

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