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TN: Tirupur Farmers Hold Three-Day Padayatra, Demand One More Dam

Sruti MD |
AIKS campaigned from June 10 to 12, covering more than 100 kilometres pressing for a dam over the Nallaru River as part of the Parambikulam Aliyar irrigation project. The Namma Nallaru (our Nallaru) padayatra ended with a public meeting at Udumalpet.
CPI(M) MP flagging off the AIKS padayatra. Image credit: Theekkathir

CPI(M) MP flagging off the AIKS padayatra. Image credit: Theekkathir

The Tirupur district All India Kisan Sabha (AIKS) campaigned from June 10 to 12, covering more than 100 kilometres pressing for a dam over the Nallaru River as part of the Parambikulam Aliyar irrigation project (PAP). The Namma Nallaru (our Nallaru) padayatra ended with a public meeting at Udumalpet on June 12 evening.

The PAP has been functional for the past 60 years providing irrigation to more than four lakh acres of agricultural land in the Tirupur and Coimbatore districts. It provides drinking water to lakhs of people.

With the construction of the Nallaru Dam, water which travels 100 km from the existing PAP dams will travel only about 20 km to reach Thirumoorthy Dam. This means farmers will get extra water for more days in a year.

The AIKS observes there is no longer enough water for farmers under the existing irrigation scheme. The plains along the Western Ghats in the districts of Coimbatore and Tirupur are partially rain-dependent regions. The farmers dependent on rain-fed crops are facing hardships.

Whereas the water produced in the Anaimalai Hills in the Western Ghats flows westwards through the Periyar, Chalakudy and Bharathapuzha basins of Kerala state, and a large amount of water mixes into the Arabian Sea.


The PAP was created to build dams on the Western Ghats to divert the collected water towards Tamil Nadu in the east, converting the rain-dependent land into a fertile agricultural area and providing drinking water to 15 lakh people.

It was initiated when Congress leader Kamarajar was in power in Tamil Nadu and Communist leader EMS Namboothiripad in Kerala. 

Through this scheme, 4.3 lakh acres punjai (rein-fed) land is cultivated in Tamil Nadu, and 20,000 acres of nanjai (irrigation-dependent) land is cultivated in Kerala. Tamil Nadu generates 185 MW, and Kerala generates 54 MW of power.

The water from Melneer (upper stream) and the water from the Kilneer (lower stream) reaches Sholayar through tunnels, there it reaches Parambikulam, passes through Thunakadavu, Peruvaripallam to Sarkarpathy Power Station, and reaches the mouth of Thirumoorthy Dam.


It takes three days for the water to reach Thirumoorthy dam, travelling 50 kilometres west from the upper stream, reaching the Parambikulam set of dams and 50 kilometres east through the Contour Canal, a total of 100 kilometres. That, too, only 100 cubic feet of water per second arrives. It takes a month to fill the dam.

The initial calculations showed that 28 tmc of water would be available from the above dams, irrigating 1,86,700 acres of land. It could increase groundwater level through circular motion, irrigating 2,50,400 acres of land.

However, the 28 tmc has been reduced by 20 tmc over the years.

Suppose a 14.40 km long tunnel is constructed from the upper water to Kulipatti hill village towards Nallaru on the western side, and a dam is built across Nallaru. In that case, water will reach Thirumoorthy Dam within six hours through a canal of 3.52 km in length. This will reduce the journey of the water five times.

Also, 680 MW of electricity will likely be generated through the hydroelectricity project over Nallaru.

Experts have calculated the costs for the same at Rs 7,000 crores.

AIKS urges Tamil Nadu Chief Minister to negotiate with the Kerala Government and allocate funds for the project.


Coimbatore Member of Parliament of the CPI(M), PR Natarajan, flagged off the campaign on Saturday.

“We have already given details to the union government about the benefits to the farmers under this scheme. We will insist on implementing this scheme in the next parliamentary session,” he said.

On Saturday, the AIKS activists campaigned in Tirupur's Palladam and Pongalur regions. On the second day, Sunday, they visited the villages around Kundadam town. On the third day, they visited villages around Gudimangalam and Udumalai towns.

The campaign concluded with AIKS state president P Shanmugam attending a public meeting.

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