Chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and his deputy O Panneerselvam laid the foundation stone for the Cauvery-South Vellar – Vaigai– Gundar river linking project, describing it as a 100-year-old dream of the people of Pudukottai district to prevent excess water from Cauvery river getting wasted in the sea.
A visibly emotional CM said at the function organized at Kunnathur in Pudukottai that it was a golden moment in his life and he felt that the very purpose of his birth has been realised. The ₹14,400 crore project, which will benefit seven districts, envisages diverting excess water in Cauvery from Mayanur dam in Karur district to south Vellar river, to Vaigai and subsequently to Gundar river through 23-metre-wide and six-metre-deep canals. A 262-km-long canal will be laid to benefit 4 lakh acres of agricultural land across the seven districts. There will be provision for road transport on either side. The first phase to lay a 118.45-km-long canal from Kattalai in Mayanur dam till south Vellar river will be carried out at a cost of Rs.6,491 crore.
The CM said the project will feed 342 tanks in Karur, Trichy and Pudukottai districts alone benefiting 42,170 acres of agriculture land. Recalling the constructive role played by former chief secretary K Shanmugam in bringing up the project, the CM said, “It was he who gave us hope that the project can be implemented with state funds if funds could not be augmented from World Bank or any other source.” He also thanked PWD secretary K Manivasagam for his support in shaping the project.
Palaniswami said it was the AIADMK government that announced Cauvery delta as protected agriculture zone to scrap the hydrocarbon projects brought by DMK. “M K Stalin has made it a practice to criticise AIADMK government in his campaigns, but he never listed out schemes implemented during the DMK period. But we meet people to list out welfare schemes that benefited people,” he said. Thanking the people who gave their land for the project, he said this was the biggest project ever taken up by PWD in the state. Mettur dam was not desilted ever since its inception, but it was not just Mettur but many tanks which were not desilted for a long period were taken up by this government. Around 6,211 tanks were desilted so far at a cost of ₹1,417 crore, he said.