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Avinashi-Athikadavu drinking water supply-cum-irrigation scheme

Tirupur: Providing succour to the farmers and social activists in the region, who had spearheaded countless protests over the years for implementing the Avinashi-Athikadavu drinking water supply-cum-irrigation scheme, the state government has accorded it administrative sanction at an estimated cost of Rs 1,652 crore.

As per the government order dated March 28, the public works department (water resources organisation) chief engineer (plan formulation division) had submitted a revised detailed project report to pump surplus water from Bhavani River — a tributary of Cauvery River — from downstream of Kalingarayan Anicut. The mode of conveyance of water would be through pipelines, which will facilitate easy implementation of automated control system. This method will also reduce water wastage.

The pumping facility will be set up at downstream of Kalingarayan Anicut, 1km from Bhavani town in Erode district. A 30MW captive solar power station will be established to generate electricity for the purpose. It will be set up using Rs 137 crore from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), for which the government will issue separate orders.

The project aims to provide irrigation to drought-prone areas in Coimbatore, Tirupur and Erode districts. It will feed 32 PWD Tanks, 42 panchayat union tanks and 971 ponds in Annur, Avinashi, Tirupur, Sulur, Nambiyur and Perundurai blocks. As many as 24,468 acres of irrigable areas will be benefited by the scheme, which will also serve as a drinking water source.

The state government fund of Rs 1,652 crore, in design-build-operate and transfer (DBOT) basis, will cover design, construction and maintenance of the project for five years.

The GO also mentioned that the present proposal was prepared after the central water commission, a central government organisation, suggested the state government to reduce the project cost.

Meanwhile, M Velusamy, son of former Avinashi MLA K Marappa Gounder, one of the first campaigners, welcomed the development. “It was a positive step by the government, which has already sanctioned Rs 250 crore for the project in this year’s budget,” he said.