Fisherfolk of hamlets in Alambara in Edaikazhinadu Panchayat want the State government to desilt the South Buckingham Canal's estuary that has been blocked for the past three months. Boats from Alambarai Thandu Mariamman gramam, Alambarai Oothukaattu Amman gramam and Kadapakkam Kuppam use this spot near the Alambara fort to enter the sea. For a month we hired an earth mover to remove the deposits but the sand just kept coming. The waves just pushed more sand in every day. Earlier, we used to leave our boats in the canal and take them out to sea through the river mouth. But now, we are forced to leave them on the seashore, which is 2 km away from our homes, said N. Parandhaman, a former counsellor of Edaikazhinadu Panchayat, on the East Coast Road. The panchayat comprises 24 fishing hamlets that are cut off from the mainland by the canal. Several bridges connect the villages to the ECR.
Every year, during summer, the river mouth gets silted up and tidal action is very minimal or absent. Due to this, inland fishing is also affected. Hundreds of fisherfolk are affected. We need a permanent solution to the problem. What is required is the construction of groynes to prevent silting, said G. Murugan, a resident. Dredging Following a long-pending demand from the fishing community, the Water Resources Department (WRD) plans to remove sand bars and dredge the South Buckingham canal's mouth at various points till the end of the northeast monsoon.
The South Buckingham canal runs for a distance of about 80 km between Sholinganallur and Marakkanam. Officials of the WRD said a proposal has been sent to the government to clean the estuary at Muttukadu and the canal's mouth at Pudupattinam to enable better tidal action and fishing activities. We are waiting for a government order sanctioning funds to clean the points where the canal meets the sea. We will take up the work during August-end or September as part of monsoon preparedness work. Dredging will be continued periodically till the year-end, an official said.