On Saturday, water from the Vaigai dam was released for irrigation of 1.36 lakh acres of traditional ayacut lands in Madurai, Sivaganga and Ramanathapuram districts of Tamil Nadu. Traditional ayacut lands are areas served by an irrigation project.
Theni District Collector M Pallavi Baldev opened the shutters following orders from Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami. The CM passed the orders based on representations from farmers in the districts.
Between November 9 and November 16, 1,441 mcft of water would be released for traditional ayacuts under Reach III. Between November 17 and 21, 386 mcft of water will be released for ayacuts under Reach II.
48 mcft of water will be released from the Viraganur check dam for four days from November 22 to November 25 and 240 mcft of water will be released from the Vaigai dam for seven days from November 26 to December 2 for the four tanks and traditional ayacuts under Reach I.
On Saturday, water was also released from Maruthanadhi dam for the irrigation of 6,583 acres in Athoor and Nilakottai taluks of Dindigul district. A total of 5,943 acres in Ayyampalayam, Sitharevu, Thevarappanpatti villages in Athoor taluk and a total of 640 acres in Sevugampatti and Kombaipatti villages under Nilakottai taluk will be irrigated by the water from Maruthanadhi dam that will continue to flow for a period of 90 days.
Water from the Vaigai has also been diverted through the Panaiyur Channel to Mariamman teppakulam in Madurai. The Mariamman teppakulam in Madurai, considered to be the biggest tank in Tamil Nadu, was formed when King Thirumalai Naicker excavated the soil to fabricate the bricks required for constructing the Thirumalai Naicker Mahal.
Mariamman Teppakulam; Source: Wikimedia Commons - Glasreifen
The teppakulam is usually dry for most parts of the year. It is filled with water for the float festival celebrated during the Tamil month of ‘Thai’.
According to The Hindu, Cooperation Minister Sellur K Raju who was present during the release observed that for the last 40 years, this remained an impossible task.
The reason for this was because the height of the Vaigai riverbed fell, while the height of Panaiyur tank remained the same. Two reinforced cement concrete pipes with a diameter of 1.05 metre were laid cross the river bund road to ensure uninterrupted supply to the Panaiyur tank. A sluice or a culvert was built across the Albert Victor bridge to allow flow of water into the teppakulam.
Until now, the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment department that manages the teppakulam used giant motor pumps to fill it with water whenever the river flowed.