The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu
The issue of the River Cauvery water sharing between the states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka has seen an unpleasant turn as Karnataka state has consistently denying the release of water to Tamilnadu. The irrigational requirements of the Delta region has come to a fable end with no sufficient rains either. As a result, the state is in the grip of shortage of water, power and industrial productions. In this juncture, I as a resident of Mettur Dam would like to place the following suggestions to improve the situation. These propositions are based on the below facts:
- Mettur as the first consumer of Tamilnadu: Chemical factories, Hydel power generation and Thermal plants, Fishing, Steel, agro-based industries, Weaving and Dyeing industries started flourishing in and around the banks of the river Cauvery, especially around this small town. The development of new industries, power-generation by some big industries, expansion of thermal power plants and a sharp increase in settlements, - all these have mounted the quantum of water used in and around Mettur itself.
- Power requirements: The power generation severely gets affected when there is no sufficient water. The 1500 MW thermal plant and 450 MW Hydel power plant needs around 7.50 TMC of water to attain its full generation capacity. The major industries like Sanmar group, MALCO started generating power on their own which requires an additional 2 TMC of water for their operations. The equation between the power generation and water storage level drawn in Mettur Dam always considered important as 35% of the state's power requirements depend on it.
- Focusing on industrial growth: For more than a decade, the government of Tamilnadu has shifted its focus on industrial growth and developed more inclination towards granting subsidies and tax benefits in the industrial sector. The economic advantage and the reduction in un-employment should be given importance but not at the cost of agriculture or at the lives of the farmers.
- The increased need for Drinking water: For more than a decade ago, Mettur reservoir catered the drinking water requirements of around 50 Square kms serving around 2 million people. Currently, water from Mettur is used for drinking purposes by more than 10 million people covering around 150 square kms in around Salem district. Fresh proposals are made for new schemes to haul more water from the Cauvery River which could serve drinking water to many other districts that might stretch even up to Chennai which is 350 kms from Mettur.
- Converting cultivable lands into living areas: Assuming that one acre of cultivable land requires some 25 cubic feet of water per annum, the same size of land which is converted into an apartment housing four families consume around 45 cubic feet of water per annum. Same is the case with the power requirements. One acre of the agricultural land consumes around 40 units of power per annum where as the housing land of the same size consumes 1,00,000 units of power.
- Power shortage: The town which is producing 2000 MW of power is facing 14 hours power cut on a daily basis these days. As bigger industries thrive on their own power plants to survive, smaller industries can hardly do their business.
Following are the recommendations which would usher the improvement process in the state of Tamilnadu.
In order to bring a sustainable development, the government shall
- come forward to de-permit the industries in and around Mettur region which use a specified maximum quantity of water for another 10 years
- not allow new industries to crop up in the region for another 10 years
- have to prioritize agriculture and irrigation needs of the Delta region
- have to streamline water distribution from Mettur reservoir.
- have to stop the new drinking water schemes which pull more water from the river
- give priority for the drinking water and consumable power requirements of the people of Mettur rather than industries and rest of the state
- direct the government to share a specified percentage of water capacity in their reservoirs on a regular basis so that the Mettur reservoir can manage water efficiently
The Mettur reservoir is an essential part of Tamilnadu’s drinking water and irrigational requirements, power generation and distribution needs. In order to benefit the whole state, it must be managed and maintained well. The people of Mettur should not be prejudiced for the sake of the people in rest of Tamilnadu. Therefore, the government shall have to bring restrictions and limitations on the growing developments but not to impose power cuts or to deny water. It must be understood that the people of Mettur has more privileges on the water, power, and industrial growth than any other place in Tamilnadu. Even though the figures mentioned in my proposal are approximate, it still the severity of the situation is
I wish the state of Tamilnadu would see a bright situation in its water and power requirements if at least some of these suggestions are implemented.
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