Monday, January 16, 2012

Mullaperiyar related worship

From the Times of India:

Controversy has dogged the masonry dam since its completion in 1895 by British engineers to address water scarcity in southern Tamil Nadu. The waters of Mullayar and Periyar that are dammed at Mullaperiyar originate in Kerala (then the kingdom of Travancore). The British government reportedly pressurised the then Travancore king to sign a treaty that provided for a 999-year lease of roughly 8,000 hectares of land to Madras Presidency to construct the dam. Water from the reservoir is taken down the steep, eastern face of the Western Ghats to Tamil Nadu, into Vaigai, a rain-fed river which is the lifeline of southern Tamil Nadu.
This daring piece of engineering turned an arid region into a fertile plain. With water, crops and cropping patterns changed. Ballads celebrate the contribution of chief engineer Colonel John Pennycuick who supervised the project. Villages here are dotted with Pennycuick Peravais (forums). Farmers in Cumbum Valley offer prayers before pictures of Cuick before sowing and harvest to this day. Mullaperiyar is not just a dam but an emotion here.
However, many in Kerala believe that Mullaperiyar water was forcibly diverted to Tamil Nadu. This grievance, often aired in irresponsible language including by senior politicians, is one reason why Tamil Nadu is wary of Keralas genuine concern about dam safety. At present, the dam is controlled and maintained by Tamil Nadu. But would Kerala cede sufficient water in the case of a new dam, which would also necessitate a new water treaty? Though Kerala swears it will, Tamil Nadu is not convinced.
Anybody have images or  videos of Pennycuick poosais? No wonder Tamil Nadu never got in too deep in it's opposition of British rule. Tamizhians essentially lost all the Dravidian infighting wars and were receded to the desert portions of the South with no access to water. Only the British took care of their interests. Karnataka has already started diversity Mysore dam waters in a big way, including upstream. Let see how this plays out in non arid Kerala.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dissenting voices: The Titanium project and the dissapearance of Theri land

Tamil Annai Thamirabarani Welfare Trust

T Balasubramania Adityan Founder
& Managing Trustee Tamil Annai
Thamirabarani Welfare Trust

T Chandrasekhar Sharma
All India Coordinator Tamil Annai
Tamirabarani Welfare Trust


e-mail the writer at

V SUNDARAM , former IAS officer

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court admitted on 5.9.07a public interest litigation that seeks to restrain the government from clearing Tata Group's Rs 2,500 crore Titanium Dioxide Project in Tamilnadu without conducting Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Hon'ble Justices Prafulla Kumar Misra and P R Shivakumar issued notices to the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, Tamilnadu Government, Project Director of Tata Iron and Steel Company and the State Pollution Control Board, returnable in four weeks.

A Farmers' Association in Tirunelveli district had filed the petition claiming that an EIA was mandatory for the project to be implemented in 16,000 acres of land, of which around 3,000 acres would be on the sea shore. According to a study conducted in West Africa, titanium dioxide extraction could cause deforestation, relocation of villages, chemical pollution and radioactivity. The undue haste with which this project has been cleared in principle by the Government of Tamilnadu on a war footing in complete disregard of all the notifications relating to 'Environmental Clearance' issued by the Government of India in the Union Ministry of Environment raises many issues relating to public interest and welfare affecting the lives of thousands of people not only in Sathankulam area in Tuthukkudi District, but throughout South Tamilnadu.

On 28 June, 2007, a MOU was signed by the Government of Tamilnadu and Tatas for setting up a big industry for the manufacture of Titanium Dioxide at a cost of about Rs 2500 crore for which an extent of 9828 acres was to be acquired by the Government on behalf of Tatas. The Government deputed a team under the leadership of a Minister and it is understood that this team had recommended that a measly compensation of Rs 1.16 lakh per acre be paid to the land owners of the area.

As there was a huge public outcry against this proposal for large scale acquisition of lands, several political parties also joined the fray and raised a strong objection to the land acquisition proceedings. Many political parties conducted public hearing and ascertained the views of the people regarding the Titanium Dioxide Project. In accordance with the known and established pattern in Tamilnadu politics, most of the opposition parties claim that the common people in Sathankulam are against this new project. As usual, the ruling party in Tamilnadu claims that the people of the area are whole-heartedly welcoming the project.

As a free lance journalist, I have checked up the position in the field. The simple truth is the people of the area do not want to part with their valuable lands for a paltry sum fixed by the Government of Tamilnadu. They have become aware of the fact that Tatas (with the full knowledge and blessings of the Government of Tamilnadu) are going to make not less than Rs.500,000 crores after purchasing an extent of nearly 10,000 acres at a total cost of less than Rs 110 crore.

More than 100,000 farmers will become landless refugees in their own native district. The calculated contempt for the landless poor by the Government of Tamilnadu on the one hand and callous corporate greed of corporate companies on the other would only lead to this avoidable disaster.

Most of the political parties which raised a strong objection against the land acquisition proceedings have now turned silent. Most of the common people are alleging that this is part of an orchestrated conspiracy of silence.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Welcome to the Tirunelveli Blog!

The blog has a local interactive map of the region. The search engine is specific to the state. Google news feed related to Tirunelveli has been provided for current information. Youtube content of interest to the city and region is provided at the bottom. Premium Youtube content related to India will be provided on the larger screen.

In short, this blog will provide you with a local interactive experience for this city. Bookmark this page to view constantly updated interactive content!