Water crisis has raised an alarm and made the local authorities take notice of the drying Vaigai river in Madurai. It’s not a new phenomenon that Vaigai dries up, however this year the officials from Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Department and Public Works Department actually have to buckle up and start searching for alternate water sources to keep the local Float festival happening in the region.
Float festival happens in Madurai on a full moon night in the Tamil month of Thai. It’s an age old ritual where Hindu deities are taken for a boat ride in an artificial tank created by King Thirumalai Nayak in 17th century. This year the annual 12 day festival is scheduled to mark its end in 27th January.
As per a report published in the leading English daily The Hindu officials have decided to pump water from the Manalur pumping station and fill up the artificial tan. However after a trial run early this week some major leakages were identified between Tirupuvanam and Manalur and it was affecting the flow of water. Efforts are underway to plug the leakages, fill up the tank and move ahead with the celebration.
It must be noted that Vaigai river gets major feed from the Periyar Dam in Kumuli, Kerala. Water from the Periyar River in Kerala is diverted into the Vaigai River in Tamil Nadu via a tunnel through the Western Ghats. Apart from having immense mythological importance this 258 km long river provides water for irrigation for the Madurai district and the Dindigul district as well as drinking water to Madurai and Andipatti.