Puducherry government owes โ‚น99 lakh in arrears to TN PWD

The money is owed for maintenance charges and for release of water from Veedur dam, which irrigates about 1,000 acres in Puducherry, an official said

The Tamil Nadu Public Works Department (PWD) has said the Puducherry Government owes it โ‚น99 lakh as maintenance charges and for release of water from Veedur dam in Villupuram district.

The Veedur dam, commissioned in 1959, is now a major source of irrigation for villages in Villupuram district and the neighbouring Union Territory of Puducherry.

Th canal system of the reservoir comprises 17.6 km, of which 16.3 km passes through Tamil Nadu and 1.3 km though Puducherry.

The dam is located at the confluence point of the Varaha and Thondi Rivers and irrigates about 2,500 acres in Villupuram district and 1,000 acres in Puducherry.

A senior official of the PWD requesting anonymity said that the amount was due since 2009 and is payable under the inter-state river sharing rules framed in 1966.

โ€œThe Tamil Nadu government allots โ‚น30 lakh annually for taking up maintenance of the dam and its canals. As per the rules, the cost of maintenance of the canals and for water release had been fixed in the ratio of 16:5 by mutual agreement,โ€ the official said. โ€œHowever, the territorial government has said that paucity of funds was among the reasons for the delay in settling the bills. The Puducherry government had also referred to obstruction in the flow of river water down the line due to natural rock formation,โ€ the official added.

Though repeated letters have been sent to the UT government seeking settlement of the arrears, it has not evoked any response, an official said, adding that the Auditor General had also indicted Puducherry for non-payment of dues for years together.

Release of water from the dam to Puducherry was not stopped even once all these years, he said.

The PWD has taken up restoration work on the dam at a cost of โ‚น43 crore to prevent encroachments and flooding and to increase the storage capacity.

The canal system of the reservoir passes through six villages in the UT and the Department cannot carry out restoration on their side until the UT settles the arrears, an official said.

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