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Tamil Nadu state govt to erect statue of British engineer who built Kerala's Mullaperiyar Dam in UK

Tamil Nadu state govt to erect statue of British engineer who built Kerala's Mullaperiyar Dam in UK

By A Staff Reporter LONDON Jan 16: Tamil Nadu government has decided to build a statue of the engineer who built Mullaperiyar Dam in Camberly in UK. The Mullaperiyar Dam is on the Periyar River in the Idukki district of Kerala. It was constructed between 1887 and 1895 by John Pennycuick Colonel John Pennycuick was a British Army engineer and civil servant who served as a member of the Madras Legislative Council when parts of the Indian subcontinent were under Colonial rule of the British East India Company. He undertook several irrigation works which included the masonry dam of Mullaperiyar on the Periyar River. Pennycuick died in Camberley, Surrey, on 9 March 1911. He is buried in the Churchyard of St. Peter's Church in Frimley. The grave has a substantial granite cross and plinth. In 2018 the grave was renovated and a large granite plaque was added in commemoration of his work on the Mullaiperiyar Dam. The plaque is from the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in recognition of the achievement. On the birthday of John Pennycuick, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced that a statue of him will be erected on behalf of the government of Tamil Nadu in his hometown of Camberley in the UK. The TN chief minister took to Twitter to inform that the Tamil community in Camberly have obtained permission from St. Peter's Church in this regard The dam is owned by the Kerala government while it is operated and managed by the Tamil Nadu government and it helps irrigate the water-starved districts of south Tamil Nadu. "Pennycuick met the agriculture and drinking water requirements of the state especially the five southern districts of Tamil Nadu, Theni, Ramanathapuram, Madurai, Dindigul, and Sivaganga. People in their love and respect towards the British Engineer have named children after him and are holding him in high esteem with his birthday being celebrated along with Pongal celebrations," the statement added. Stalin said, "2.19 lakh acres of lands in these areas are irrigated due to the efforts of the great British Engineer and the Tamil Nadu government wanted to give him a fitting tribute and had decided to install his statue in his home town as a mark of love and respect towards him." Chief Minister also said that during the construction of the dam, the British government was unable to fund the project after a point and Pennycuick went to England, sold off his properties, and then funded the project on his own. He said, "Pennycuick built the dam with confidence, determination, perseverance, and boldness despite all obstacles."

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