Monday, November 16, 2009

Veeranam lake brimming at 43.5 ft

Veeranam lake brimming at 43.5 ft - The Times of India
TNN 11 November 2009, 06:21am IST

With heavy rains lashing the northern districts, the water level in the Veeranam lake in Cuddalore district, a prime water source for Chennai, is brimming over. Anxious to protect the embankment and prevent vast acres of crops in the tail-end of the delta region going under sheets of water, officials have decided to maintain the water level in the lake at 43.5 feet as against its full capacity of 47.5 feet.

The water level in the lake as on Tuesday stood at 43.7 feet. The inflow was 1,000 cusecs while the outflow was maintained at 1,474 cusecs. Water supply to Chennai from the lake for drinking water needs resumed a month ago and on Tuesday 73 cusecs of water was released to Chennai.

With the discharge of water from the lake, the crops on about 10,000 acres in Kattumannarkoil and Chidambaram have been submerged. The officials were of the view that the heavy rains had not damaged the crops yet but admitted that if the spell continued for another two days, the situation could turn bad.

Paddy was raised in 90% of the tail-end delta regions. "The next 48 hours is very crucial for the farmers in these regions. If rain continues, the loss of crops will be enormous and if not, there are possibilities of stagnant water draining out quickly. Majority of the crops submerged were raised a month ago and damage would be less in these areas," said Veeranam Pasana Vivasayeegal Sangam president KV Elankeeran.

But rains wrecked havoc to the betel leaves cultivated in about 3,000 to 5,000 acres of plantations near the lake including in places like Thiruchinnapuram, Nanthimangalam, Lalpettai and Elleri. "Betel leaves are water-intensive crops and are generally raised in regions near the lake. The crops raised in about 3,000 to 5,000 acres of land have submerged under water for the past one week and are completely damaged," Elankeeran said.

Cuddalore collector P Seetharaman while briefing reporters said the district administration submitted a proposal for Rs 23 crore to the state government for strengthening the banks of Veeranam Lake.

Detailing the preparedness of the district administration in tackling the north-east monsoon, the collector said the project will be taken up shortly. The project includes de-silting 28 supply channels of the lake at a cost of Rs 12.56 crore renovating the existing shutters at a cost of Rs 1.26 crore and erecting new shutters at Rs 46 lakh.

He revealed that a new bridge at a cost of Rs four crore connecting Nanthimangalam and Poolanmedu in Kattumannarkoil taluk will be constructed, another new bridge at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore connecting Nanamedu and Uppalavadu and a new regulator at a cost of Rs six crore will be erected at VNS anicut.

"Crops cultivated in about 20,500 acres of land have been submerged under water, but the incessant rain has not damaged the crops," he claimed.

Four persons and four cattle have been killed in rain-related accidents. Thirty-two houses were completely damaged and 135 houses partially damaged.

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