Farmers to step up stir against dam construction

‘150 families facing eviction due to the project across Thondar rivulet’

Farmers under the aegis of the Action Council Against Thondar Dam, a coordination committee of 10 farmer groups in Thondarnadu, Edavaka and Vellamunda grama panchayats, are gearing up to intensify their agitation against the construction of a dam across the Thondar rivulet, a tributary of the Kabini river at Moolithodu in the district.

Speaking to the media, S. Sherafudheen, coordinator of the organisation, said the farmers would hold a ‘Samara Sangamam’ (agitation meet) at the Government Lower Primary School at Moolithodu on Sunday. Environmentalist K. Sahadevan will inaugurate the meet at 2 p.m.

The project envisages collecting 0.3 tmcft of water after constructing an earthen dam across the rivulet to irrigate 1,411 hectares in the three grama panchayats.

Mr. Sherafudheen said the project would adversely affect hundreds of families in the three panchayats, and more than 150 families, including 50 tribal families, would face eviction for the first phase of construction of the reservoir.

“According to a feasibility study, the reservoir will be constructed at a height of 13.5 metre, and we suspect that as much as 1,500 acres will be used for it. The project will adversely affect close to 650 families, including 150 tribal families, in seven wards under the three civic bodies,” Mr. Sharafudheen said.

“We will not allow officials to enter our land to conduct survey for the project, as the public is against it,” said V. Abdulla, chairman of the organisation.

The villagers had detained officials who had reached the area for the survey nearly a month ago, and the Thondarnadu grama panchayat board had passed a resolution against the project two months ago, he said.

Though successive governments had spent ₹450 crore for the Karapuzha irrigation project since 1980, it was yet to meet its target, he said. The condition the Banasurasagar irrigation project is not different. The Thondar project will also meet the same fate. Hence, the government should cancel the project, Mr. Abdulla said.

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