In May, the state government announced the desilting of 2,065 water bodies across Tamil Nadu. Nearly two months after the announcement, farmers in Coimbatore district allege that the silted soil which was supposed to be used by farmers for agricultural purposes, is being illegally sold to private companies.
There are about 1277 lakes and water tanks in Coimbatore. Residents of different areas in Coimbatore like Devarayapuram, Perur, Parameshwaran Palayam, Annur, Perur, have complained to the district collector about the illegal selling of silt soil.
Many residents of Coimbatore have in fact shot videos as evidence.
â€śIn the last ten days, hundreds of lorries have taken the silt soil from different areas like Annur, Perur, etc. The silt soil is being sold to private companies instead of being given freely to farmers for agricultural purposes. Heavy equipment is used to collect the sand. We have complained to the district authorities about the issue, but no action has been taken till now,â€ť said S Palanisamy, president of the All India Kisan Sabha.
He added that the government is only supposed to carry out the desilting work from 9am to 6pm but the work keeps going on throughout the day, and about 50 lorries keep taking the silt soil.
They want the government to form a committee to keep a check on the desilting process. â€śThe government must make sure that the silt soil is not illegally sold to private companies and it is given to farmers for their agricultural work,â€ť said Palanisamy.
The News Minute tried contacting the collector but he was unavailable for comment.
In May, DMK working president MK Stalin had also said that his party will be desilting the water bodies in Tamil Nadu as the government was not interested in peopleâ€™s problems like drought and scarcity of water. He had added that all the 89 DMK legislators will be taking steps to desilt water bodies.
On Monday, both DMK and AIADMK had taken credit in the Assembly for desilting of water bodies during the debate on the demand for grants for the Revenue and Disaster Management department. Revenue Minister R B Udhayakumar said in the Assembly that government had launched a scheme for removal of silt from reservoirs, dams and irrigation tanks, and under the scheme, 1,66,45,260 cubic metre of silt has been removed across 14,959 water bodies, reported The Hindu.
(With inputs from Sudhakar Balasundaram)