By M. Soundariya Preetha

Coimbatore, April 26th: Think Thondamuthur and what comes to mind are lush green agriculture lands on the banks of the Noyyal, with the Western Ghats in the backdrop. Tomatoes, areca nut, grapes, small onions, and bananas are all cultivated here and for the residents of the city who want a short getaway, there are several spots on the banks of the Noyyal that they can go to.

Well, things are not the same anymore. In several areas, the farms have given way to buildings and the Noyyal cries for attention. Elephants crossing the road, entering residential areas, and damaging crops are common.

One of the significant demands of the constituency is efforts to support agriculture. It is an area where different crops are raised. In the recent years, small farmers have been selling their land as they do not find farming viable, say some of them. The grape growers have seen a sharp fall in area under grapes and have been asking for a research centre that can guide the farmers. Instances of elephants and boars damaging crops are on the increase and the agriculture community has sought protection for crops. Construction of retention walls on the bunds of the Noyyal will protect the river, they add.

In some of the tribal hamlets at the foothills, the residents seek bore wells so that they can continue farming during summer months and when there is shortage of water too. The Noyyal restoration is important not only for the constituency but also for the districts through which the river passes. Now, untreated sewage is let into the river and waste is dumped on the river bed. The local bodies in the constituency need to go in for sewage treatment plants so that the Noyyal can be revived. Checking of violation of Hill Area Conservation Authority rules, controlling water bottling plants that operate without licence and improvement in public transport facilities for tourists are among the other demands.

Eco-friendly measures that will conserve Nature, benefit tourists, and develop the religious and Natural tourist destinations will help develop the constituency better, say environmental activists.

Sitting MLA S.P. Velumani (AIADMK) polled 62.40 per cent of the votes in 2011 in Thondamuthur Assembly constituency, which was bi-furcated in 2007 to create Kavundampalayam and had some areas of Perur added to it. This election, the main parties contesting include AIADMK (S.P. Velumani), Manithaneya Makkal Katchi in the DMK front (M.A. Syed Mohammed) and DMDK in the DMDK-PWA-TMC front (K. Thiagarajan). The constituency requires not just lights and roads but more development to increase the income of the people. It has potential for promotion of tourism and agriculture, says Mr. Thiagarajan. According to Mr. Mohammed, the constituency has not got any new industry or initiative to generate more jobs in the last five years.

Source: Times of India