‘Wasn’t My Idea’, Says TN Minister After Bizarre Thermocol Experiment

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Chennai: Days after launching an innovative method to prevent evaporation using thermocol, which immediately drew criticism, Tamil Nadu minister Sellur K Raju said it was not his idea, it came from officials.

“No minister does such things unilaterally. There is no system in any government where a minister does such things suo motu,” he said.

In order to conserve water in Tamil Nadu’s Vaigai dam, the Public Works Department started floating thermocol sheets, worth Rs. 10 lakhs, to cover a portion of the dam to curb water loss due to evaporation. But the unconventional idea turned out to be a disaster as soon after the thermocol sheets taped together were laid on the water surface, they were swept away by strong winds.

Unfazed by the criticism, Cooperation Minister Raju said that late Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s rainwater harvesting (RWH) scheme, too, was ridiculed by DMK President M Karunanidhi before it won people’s approval.

The minister later held discussions with PWD experts on ways to overcome the problem of wind and water flow, which led to the sheets drifting in various directions, officials said.

Experts have panned the idea saying the officials’ lack of knowledge about water cycle and ecology is alarming.

“The plan shows the lack of scientific knowledge of the water cycle. Water evaporation is a natural process and is part of water cycle. Why should one try to prevent the natural process,” G Sundarrajan, an environment activist with NGO Poovulagin Nambargal.

He added that thermocol is extremely harmful if ingested. “If fish or birds eat the thermocol, it will cause major harm to them,” he said.

Rathnam, a scientist, also said that thermocol is non-biodegradable and will cause immense harm to marine life.

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