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Ooty has no water to quench thirst Ooty has no water to quench thirst

Apr-29-2014 | 0 Comments

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UDHAGAMANDALAM: The water situation in Ooty town, ahead of the summer season, has been made worse with the failure of the usual heavy showers this April. With eight reservoirs in the area from where water is drawn to meet requirements having gone dry, the Ooty municipality is struggling to tackle distribution problems which are rapidly proliferating.

Apart from the local reservoirs, the Parsons valley Hydel Reservoir has for several decades been the main source of water to a major part of town and the defence area at Wellington. The third scheme from Parsons Valley, a long pending water scheme meant for equal distribution, is yet to get a nod from the government, thanks to the lethargic attitude of the Ooty municipality. Though a sum of Rs.27.2cr was sanctioned by the government a few years ago, it was the municipality which made an undue delay in carrying out the formal procedures to obtain clearance from the forest department for the new scheme.

The first two schemes of the Parsons Valley Hydel Reservoir run through forest land to a distance of about 10.4 km. A third pipe will also run through the same land and the same distance. But, a lease agreement entered between the municipality and the forest department in 1986 (when the second scheme was implemented) for twenty five years was not renewed by the municipality before the lapse of the agreement in 2011. Ironically, one condition of the agreement that an equal area of land be given in compensation of forest land through which the two pipes run has not been fulfilled even after twenty five years.

K Sivakumar, Ooty municipal commissioner told TOI, "The delay in implementing the third scheme of is due to queries raised by the forest department when the proposal was sent to them for clearance. Now the department has raised queries on the second scheme. Only after the raised queries are rectified, the new scheme proposal will be submitted. We are working on rectification of queries and the same will be sent to the forest department within a month's time," he said.

Sivakumar said, "It will take at least three months to get sanction from the government after obtaining clearance from the forest department. And another three months will be required to lay new pipe lines".

However, according to C Badrasamy, District Forest Officer (South Division) the proposal of the new third scheme was recommended by the forest department in the interests of the public even though it was found that there was a lapse in the renewal of the earlier lease agreement. But the proposal was rejected by the government some six months ago citing that the renewal of lease agreement for the second scheme was not initiated.

Only last December, the land transfer took place between the municipality and the forest department. The municipality has earmarked an area of 2.3 hectares at Marlimund as compensation to the forest department.

According to Badrasamy, the arrears towards rent was paid by the municipality only after raising the query.

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