Five years ago, Sellur K Raju, the former Tamil Nadu Minister for Cooperatives came up with an ingenious idea to curb water loss due to evaporation at Tamil Nadu’s Vaigai dam.
The officials of the Public Works Department under the guidance of minister undertook the task of covering a portion of the dam with thermocol sheets worth ₹10 lakhs to curb water loss due to evaporation.
Minister Sellur K Raju said he got the idea from a ‘source’. It involved using thermocol sheets, worth ₹ 10 lakhs, to cover a portion of the dam to curb water loss due to evaporation.
So, five years ago, on April 21, 2017, Minister Sellur K Raju and the officials of the Public Works Department tried to cover a portion of the dam using thermocol sheets.
The minister invited the press to the Vaigai dam located 67 kms away from Madurai to view his breakthrough technique to save water.
As the Minister set the experiment in motion by placing a few sheets over the waterbody, strong winds swept the sheets away.
Undeterred, the minister directed the PWD officials to spread the thermocol sheets deep in the water using an Indian coracle (Tamil: பரிசல்). But, wind washed them ashore within a few minutes leaving the minister and other officials red faced.
K Veera Raghava Rao, the Collector of Madurai said they would hereafter adopt different methods to save water. Rao also said that they used thermocol as it is non-polluting. But, Mr Rathnam, a scientist, says thermocol is non-biodegradable and can harm fish when it breaks into smaller pieces.
The public and social media threw brickbats at the minister for his failed experiment that earned him the moniker “Thermocol” Raju.