Cauvery: CM Palaniswami opens Mettur dam for irrigation

By Balasubramani Muniyandi Published on Jul 19, 2018 01:07 PM IST

Chennai / Salem: In the 84-year history of Mettur dam, Edappadi  K Palaniswami became the first Chief Minister of Tamilnadu to open the sluice gates in person to release water for irrigation.

He achieved this feat this morning when he directly visited the dam and opened its gates to let in Cauvery water for samba cultivation.

Speaking after opening the sluice gates, an emotional Palaniswami recollected how late chief minister J Jayalalithaa fought for Tamilnadu's rights over the Cauvery till her last breath.

He said it was the AIADMK that had fought legally to secure Cauvery water for Tamilnadu. He also thanked Varuna Bhagwan for copious rain in the catchment areas that helped fill the Mettur dam.

Palaniswami was accompanied by ministers K A Sengottaiyan, P Thangamani, V Saroja, K P Anbalagan, K C Karupannan and M R Vijayabhaskar.

After a gap of four years, the water level in Mettur dam, the lifeline of farmers in the Cauvery delta districts, to take up irrigation, crossed the 100-ft mark  Tuesday night.

 PWD officials thanked Karnataka for releasing surplus waters from Kabini  and  Krishnaraja Sagar dams since 14 June. The level in Stanley reservoir at Mettur stood at 40 ft then and rose rapidly to cross the coveted 100-ft mark much to the joy of the farmers.

As the water level touched 100 ft, PWD officials performed special poojas at the dam by showering rose petals and other flowers.

The water level, which stood at 95.7 ft Tuesday morning, drastically increased and crossed the 100 feet mark after a gap of four years - the last time being in August 2014.

The inflow into the dam also crossed 1.20 lakh cusecs, thanks to discharge of surplus water from Karnataka.

Last year, the water from Mettur dam was released for irrigation in August after the level reached 94.8 ft and this year, it reached 100 ft in July.

PWD officials were confident of the dam reaching its full capacity of 120 ft in the next couple of days, considering that heavy rain is forecast in the  catchment areas of the Cauvery and due to heavy discharge from Karnataka, which led to continuous increase in the water level.

AT HOGENAKKAL

The release of surplus water from Kabini and Krishnaraja Sagar dams in Karnataka, which have been battered by rain, crossed  1.20 lakh cusecs  at Hogennakal in Dharmapuri district. Sounding a high alert in view of increased inflow from Karnataka, Salem Collector Rohini R    Bhajibhakare appealed to the people, especially those living in low-lying areas and on the banks of the river Cauvery, to move to safer places.

ALERT SOUNDED

A team of PWD officials was camping at the dam site and monitoring the inflow  and the rise in the water level. A control room at the collectorate, with toll free number 1077, was also opened and it was functioning round-the-clock to enable people pass on any information in case of an emergency.

HOW HELPFUL

Palaniswami said the release of water from the Mettur dam would help fill up 700 lakes, tanks and other water bodies, and the water would be used for irrigation. It would also augment the groundwater sources and help in

meeting the drinking water needs of the delta districts.STRICTLY NO SELFIES

Collector Rohini who had issued a flood alert for the district Sunday, issued another warning Tuesday night, to youth, tourists, fishermen and the local people, urging them not to attempt to take pictures and selfies on the banks of the flooded river.