Will the glory days of the Vaippar River return? – The New Indian Express


Express news service

VIRUDHUNAGAR: Ask the elders about the Vaipar River and they will become storytellers. Whether for drinking or for irrigation, the entire Sattur region turned to its powerful currents, and entire railroads were laid to carry agricultural produce from its bustling shores.

Today neither this river nor the verdant farmlands along its banks exist in the town of Sattur; both are dead, and have been for three decades. In its place flows a “sewer” transporting waste from the municipality of Sattur and neighboring villages, and effluents from the industries of the Sivakasi-Virudhunagar-Thoothukudi belt. “Despite the existence of strict government laws, effluents from factories and untreated sewage from towns / villages are dumped into the river,” said Sundarapandian (45), an activist who is trying to revive the Vaippar.

He rejected rhetoric that the Sivakasi-Sattur-Vembakottai belt only had firecracker industries to rely on and claimed that the entire region was once made up of swathes of farmland, with Vaippar being the beating heart.

“It wasn’t until the late 1980s that the river started to dry up quickly,” he said, adding: “Two things happened simultaneously to make this region dependent on industry. cracker: 1) Machines replaced labor in the security industries with the implementation of the new economic policy; 2) the river has started to dry up due to sand mining and associated activities such as tree felling and riverbank breaking, ”Sundarapandian said. Subsequently, thousands of farmers and farm laborers became workers in cracker units, while some left the area for the towns.

Ellapparaj, a 75-year-old farmer, said the riverbed had been mined for sand for nearly 12 feet, exposing the rocks below. “We ask the government this question: will the Vaippar be relaunched? he said, adding: “If this is done, Sattur and the neighboring regions will not have to depend on external water sources. Stating that the river flows even during heatwave days, Bajanai Krishnan (72) said Sattur town and neighboring villages were now forced to depend on Thamirabarani water supplied by pipelines. “If there is repair work on the pipeline, we will not have water,” he added.

Partial recovery work
When contacted, the Executive Engineer (PWD) of Vaippar Basin, Raja, told TNIE that arrangements are being made to remove the karuvelam from the riverbed and that proposals have been sent to the government for regradation. rivers, riverbank construction and related activities.

In addition, work on an underground drainage system (UGD), worth Rs 37.66 crore, as part of the Urban Infrastructure Development Program for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) is underway in the city of Sattur since 2019. The construction of a wastewater treatment plant (STP) with the treatment capacity of 4.63 MLD (Million Liters per Day) is underway; this would help treat the wastewater from 24 wards in the municipality, officials from TWAD’s board said.

“In addition, an authorization has been requested from the Department of Public Works (PWD) to discharge the treated water into the river. Residents oppose this scheme, however, “an official said on condition of anonymity. In addition, treated water would be purchased by SIPCOT for its ongoing construction work, official sources said. Today we are celebrating World Rivers Day, TNIE looks at the issues plaguing the rivers that flow through TN.

Three major problems preventing the flow of water

Damage to the Shenbagavalli dam, causing water loss to originate from the river

Seemai karuvelam (juliflora) forest on the river bed and other waterways

Discharge of effluents and wastewater into the river

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