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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

TN CM J Jayalalithaa inaugurates Hogenakkal Water project today

There are Govt projects and schemes, not all attract the attention of common man …… this one can perhaps change the lives of thousands of common public….. some of the residents still could not believe that this is to happen from today.  It has been such a long wait that so many living in the rural areas of this corridor would jump in joy as the scheme has been completed and is being commissioned today.   It is a scheme to overcome the impact of fluoride in groundwater on 33 lakh people in the two districts that are known to have mostly barren hills and parched lands.

It actually is a place where people escape to in hot sweltering summer ~ it has a water falls and still you call it barren hills and parched lands… !!!!

It is ‘Hogenakkal Falls’ on river ‘Kaveri’ located  in the Dharmapuri district of  Tamil Nadu ~  about 180 km from Bangalore and 46 km from Dharmapuri town.  Dharmapuri and neighbouring Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu are drought prone and had been the cause of high political debates and riots. Although the Kaveri river enters the state at Biligundulu in Dharmapuri district, it does not contribute to irrigation or drinking water purposes there. Sadly it is also the place affected by fluorosis. So common public do not get potable water and there is always water crisis, especially the drinking water. Those living in the city and used to mineral water life, can perhaps never understand this endemic.

The project being flagged off by the CM Ms J Jayalalithaa could change the lives of people in these districts.  Hogenakkal Integrated Drinking Water Project is a fluorosis mitigation drinking water project executed by Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD), with funding from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) using Tamil Nadu\s share of Cauvery river water. The project aims to supply safe drinking water to drought prone  fluorosis affected Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.  The total cost of this entire flourosis mitigation project is put at  Rs. 13.34 billion. 1.4 tmc feet of water is to be utilised for the Hogenakkal drinking water project.

For smooth functioning, the TN Govt obtained NOC from Central Govt as also with the J. H. Patel led government of Karnataka in 1998, based on the premise that both states won't obstruct drinking water schemes from Cauvery as long as the water drawn for such a project is sourced from the respective state's share of Cauvery water, whose proceedings have been recorded. The project is expected to cover 6,755 households in three municipal areas, 17 panchayats and 18 town panchayats, benefiting about three million people. Drinking water will be pumped to a master balancing reservoir at Madam, about 11 km from Hogenakkal. After treatment, water will be pumped for 145 km to cover areas such as Palakkodu,Marandahalli and Hosur in Tamil Nadu. Remaining areas in Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri districts will be covered by taking advantage of altitude gradient.

So, today 29th May 2013 is a red letter day for these people in the water deficit districts of Krishnagiri and Dharmapuri as they are poised to get potable drinking water for the first time. Tamil Nadu chief minister J Jayalalithaa will launch the 1,928 crore Hogenakkal Water Supply Scheme today, paving the way for supply of water free of fluoride that has led people to suffer from skeletal and dental fluorosis besides a host of other ailments over the years. The project, first proposed in the 1960s when K Kamaraj was the chief minister, will draw on Cauvery waters near the Hogenakkal falls in Dharmapuri district.

The government’s water quality analysis reports show that the concentration of fluoride in ground water in many parts of these districts ranged from 1.5 mg/l to 12.4 mg/l which is in excess of the permissible limit of 1.5 mg/l. During an assessment for dental fluorosis among 3.8 lakh school going students in these districts, the state health department found the intensity of the problem was severe in 3% students, while it was moderate among 10%.  It is stated that 3 generations had been affected by high-fluoride content water and this sure would help the people of the districts. A remarkable feature of this project is that besides providing drinking water, water pits have also been created to provide water to wild animals, especially elephants, living in forest ranges, where pipes are laid along roads passing through the forests. Residents at Alamarathupatti say they have been fetching 20 pots of water a day from a borewell, located two km from their village. Men use mopeds or cycles to carry four pots of water each, while women walked with two pots each. All this is set to change.

Dental fluorosis, also called mottling of tooth enamel, is a developmental disturbance of dental enamel caused by excessive exposure to high concentrations of fluoride during tooth development. The risk of fluoride overexposure occurs at any age but it is higher at younger ages. Skeletal fluorosis is a bone disease caused by excessive consumption of fluoride. In advanced cases, skeletal fluorosis causes pain and damage to bones and joints.

Happy that a welfare scheme is getting inaugurated today..

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.

PS: photos cut out of the Govt advt on inauguration of the scheme, to provide more interesting view …. the last one - plastic pots on cycle - courtesy The Hindu

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