Mettur Dam, Salem
The Mettur Dam is one of the largest dams in India built in 1934. It was constructed in a gorge, where the Kaveri River enters the plains. It provides irrigation facilities to parts of Salem, the length of Erode, Namakkal, Karur, Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur district for 271,000 acres (110,000 ha) of farm land.
The total length of the dam is 1,700 m (5,600 ft.). The dam creates Stanley Reservoir. The Mettur Hydro Electrical power project is also quite large. The dam, the park, the major Hydro Electric power stations and hills on all sides make Mettur a tourist attraction. Upstream from the dam is Hogenakal Falls. The maximum level of the dam is 120 ft. (37 m) and the maximum capacity is 93.47 tmc ft.
Stanley Reservoir (also known as Mettur dam) is one of largest fishing reservoirs in South India. Its main source of water is the River Kaveri (Cauvery). Three minor tributaries – Palar, Chennar and Thoppar – enter the Kaveri on her course above Stanley Reservoir. The water is retained by the Mettur Dam, Tamilnadu. The creation of the reservoir caused the submersion of two villages, all of whose inhabitants were relocated to Mettur.
The dam had a long history from the year 1834 to the year 1934.The construction work of the Mettur dam was commenced in the year 1925 and the entire work was completed and opened for irrigation by the Governor of Madras, Sir George Stanley on August 21, 1934. The Mettur Dam is also one of the largest dams in India and having a total length of 1700 meters long. It irrigates 1,310 km2 (510 sq. mi) of land each year. Its installed capacity for hydro-power generation is 32 MW. The maximum level of the dam is 120 ft. (37 m) and the maximum capacity is 93.4 tmc ft.
The structure of the dam was designed by a British, Mr. Ellis and the project was overseen by another British engineer, Mr. Mullings. When the dam was planned English people gave some money and evacuated the people who lived in Nayambadi village which was in the place of present Mettur dam.
When the water level of the dam recedes even now we can see age old Hindu temples and church emerge from it as a proof. Those people who migrated from Nayambadi have settled down in Martalli village and nearby villages which are part of Kollegal district Karnataka state, then those villages were part of Erode district, Tamilnadu. Those were the days Kaveri disputes were at its peak, whenever disputes broke out these villagers were the victims. People ran here and there to save their lives. Men tried to guard village with weapon, keeping their women and children locked in house.
The Mettur Dam has received attention of the public during the recent past because of the Kaveri water dispute between the States of Tamilnadu and Karnataka. Consequent to building dams, including the Kabini Dam, across the Kaveri River in Karnataka, the Mettur Dam does not receive much water during lean seasons. Thus, the Dam nearly goes dry during certain parts of the year, when water is most needed by the farmers and general public of the states of Karnataka and Tamilnadu. This has created serious dispute and tension between the neighbouring States of Karnataka and Tamilnadu.
Governments of the respective states, the Supreme Court and the Kaveri Tribunal have so far not been successful in solving the dispute. Meanwhile, Kaveri Water Tribunal has been constituted to solve the problem and the tribunal has passed it verdict of 419 tmc to Tamil Nadu, 270 tmc to Karnataka, 50 tmc to Kerala and 7 tmc to Puducherry, which has been held highly unsatisfactory by the states of Tamilnadu and Karnataka and has challenged the verdict in the supreme court.
The Central government after being condemned by the Judge of the Supreme Court has finally notified the Kaveri Tribunal verdict in the Gazette. Farmers and People across the Agricultural State of Tamil Nadu burst out of Jubilation as the result of the long pending justice being established. It is however undeniable that the people of Karnataka living in the Kaveri basin feel this is not justice.
The capacity of the dam is 93.4 billion ft³ (2.64 km³) nearly twice that of its Karnataka counterpart of KRS, is revered as the life and life hood giving asset of Tamilnadu. This dam was built in line with KRS Dam which was designed by Sir M Vishveswariah in 1911 and completed in 1917 near Mysore.
Mettur Dam is a beautiful spot surrounded by a mosaic of sugarcane and paddy fields, swaying coconut palms and verdant banana plantations. There is a lovely park where kids can frolic. The view from the dam, down the Cauvery River, is awesome.
If you visit Mettur Dam at a time when the water levels are low, get a local fisherman to take you across to the submerged Nandi (bull) statue, the church and the palace of Tipu Sultan, which were inundated when the dam was constructed.
If you go upstream from Mettur Dam, you can visit the breathtaking Hogenakkal Falls, which is a hugely popular tourist attraction. During festival times like Pongal, Diwali (Deepavali) and Aadi, which are popular festivals in Tamilnadu, people throng to Mettur Dam.
There is a park located beneath Mettur Dam, where you can see Snake Park, Deer park and beautiful scenery of dam along with spicy fish curry. Charge for sightseeing of Dam fixed Rs 5/Head.
Mettur being close to the transportation hubs of Erode and Salem is well connected to both these cities as well as to Dharmapuri. Bus services operate from Erode & Salem at the most frequency, with bus services once in every 5 minutes.
There is short cut for Coimbatore from Dharmapuri via Thoppur, Mettur, Bhavani (can save up to 20 km travel) without reaching Salem by NH47 due to the high volume of traffic between Coimbatore and Salem, especially between Coimbatore and Avinashi on NH47. There is route to Mysuru-Karnataka through Madeswaran Malai (Madeswaran Betta) and Kollegal from Mettur.
It has got a Railway Station (in the upper part of Mettur Dam) from where it is connected to Salem. There is a daily express train to Chennai from Mettur Dam and in the return direction too.
Nearest airport is Salem Airport which has daily flights to Chennai. Nearest Major Airports are located at Coimbatore, Trichy & Bangalore.