Avinashi-Athikadavu project implementation from Feb 15, says Minister

Almost 99% of the work under the Athikadavu–Avinashi Ground Water Recharge and Drinking Water Supply Scheme has been completed and testing will be finished by February 15, said S. Muthusamy, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, in Erode on Wednesday.

The Minister inspected the raw water pumping station at Kalingarayanpalayam in Bhavani and held discussions with the Tamil Nadu Water and Drainage (TWAD) Board engineers on the status of the work. The scheme is being implemented at a total cost of ₹ 1,756.88 crore to fill 32 Public Works Department tanks, 42 union tanks and 971 ponds in the districts of Erode, Tiruppur and Coimbatore. The scheme will also help irrigate 24,468 acres in the three districts. So far, ₹ 1,605.89 crore has been spent for the project.

“Works have been expedited for completion by this month end. After a trial run for 10 days, efforts will be taken to launch the project on February 15. At present, 99 per cent of work has been finished with six pumping stations ready for operations. Of the total 1,045 tanks to be refilled through the project, works got over for water to flow into 750 tanks and another 200 tanks will be covered by this month end. Before the end of the trial run, all pending works will also be completed,” he told reporters in Erode after inspecting the ongoing works.

Further, the Minister said the project will be inaugurated by Chief Minister MK Stalin. The water scheme project proposes to divert 1.5 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of surplus water from River Bhavani from downstream of Kalingarayan anicut by pumping through pipelines to refill water bodies.

To a question on providing compensation to the farmers whose lands were acquired for the scheme, Mr. Muthusamy said when the project was brought up, the compensation package was not planned. “We have worked out a compensation, which will be finalised soon and settled by February 15,” he said. Asked whether more water bodies would be brought under the scheme, the Minister said that the scheme was designed only to fill 1,045 water bodies and only a second scheme can include more water bodies.

The project proposes to divert 1.5 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of surplus water annually from River Bhavani from downstream of the Kalingarayan anicut by pumping it through pipelines and refilling the water bodies.

Responding to a query, if DMK will contest in Erode East constituency, where a by-poll has been announced by the Election Commission on February 27 following the demise of E Thirumahan Evera from Congress, Muthusamy said the DMK and Congress alliance remains strong.

“Any candidate from DMK, Congress or alliance parties may contest and the DMK will work towards their victory,” he said.

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