Tamil Nadu Speaker’s Grand Plan To Provide Water To Drought-Prone Areas

Mr Appavu has also brought two other significant projects.


The 72-year-old MLA and speaker of the Tamil Nadu assembly, M Appavu, is inspecting the final phase of his pet project – the interlinking of three rivers in his Radhapuram assembly constituency in the Tirunelveli district of Tamil Nadu.

Started in 2009, the 73-kilometre-long Rs 800 crore canal project aims to tap the surplus waters flowing into the sea during floods from the River Thamarabarani, to irrigate 50,000 acres in the drought-prone pockets of Tuticorin and Tirunelveli districts in southern Tamil Nadu.

The mega scheme did not see the light of the day for a decade. However, the teacher-turned four-time MLA got it expedited over the last three years. He told NDTV, “I am so happy that nearly after thirty to forty years all parts of Radhapuram constituency, particularly the drought-prone Thisayanvilai, Sathankulam, Udangudi, and Thiruchendur have turned fertile in a big way.”

During the 2023 floods, the canal was put to the test, letting the surplus from River Thamarabarani into the canal. Local people are happy about its impact, recharging groundwater table and supplying water for irrigation. Farmers like Kumar at Tamilakuruchi village are happy about new farming possibilities. He says, “If waters come like this, I can earn another five thousand rupees.”

Mr Appavu has also brought two other significant projects that aim to provide piped drinking water for all and housing for the poor.

Blessed with the perennial River Thamarabarani, the Speaker has got sanctioned a Rs 1,000 crore scheme to provide piped drinking water to all 96,000 households in 360 villages and 80,000 families in seven town panchayats by next year. Mr Appavu added, “The work is progressing fast. In one year, all villages in Radhapuram assembly constituency will get a drinking water connection. Not a single mother in the villages needs to step out carrying a pot for water. The Chief Minister has helped us.”

That is not all. Around 1,000 concrete homes are being built in his constituency to provide housing for the poor. Valli Thai, a resident, hopes to get a house. She says, “We are without a house. They are building 1,000 houses. Ask them to allot one for us.”

Mr Appavu’s next big dream is to bring about industrial development, particularly MSMEs, to nurture entrepreneurship and employment in his constituency. Other lawmakers say he quietly garners every government scheme for his constituency, taking advantage of his position as Speaker. While delivering water connections and homes would be a challenge, Mr Appavu says his secret is working closely with the people.

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