When the entire nation is working for the dream project of linking all the rivers across the nation, the Tamirabarani River, one of the two perennial rivers in Tamil Nadu, is going through a dark phase. as 70 per cent of the river stands polluted. The river, which originates more than 2,000 metres from a peak in hills of the Western Ghats above Papanasam in the Ambasamudram taluk, flows through the Tirunelveli & Thoothukudi districts. A study conducted by Prof N Khaja Mohideen, Department of Chemistry, Sadakathullah Appa College, Palayamkottai, has revealed the highly polluted nature of the Tamirabarani River. According to the study, over 50,000 goats are sacrificed on the day of Adi Ammavasai function held at Sorimuthu Ayyanar Temple at Papanasam. The blood drains into the river and on the same day, at least around 50,000 persons shave their head and the hair is also thrown in to the river. The river becomes an open toilet for the over-four lakh people who throng the festival. Effluents from 4,961 small-scale industries (4,203 in Tirunelveli and 758 in Thoothukudi) and 19 large and medium-scale industries functioning in the river basin are sidetracked to the river. There are around 866 cremation grounds in the district and the ashes and bones, which have not burned, are also thrown in to the river. Illegal and indiscriminate sand mining has also affect ed the river. At Tirunelveli, dead dogs and pigs can be seen in the sewage pools of the Tamirabarani river bed that serves as a drinking water source for four districts. Moreover, the drainage of Ganeshapuram, Sindhupoonthurai and Meenakshipuram areas in Tirunelveli and wastes of hotels and hospitals are let into the river. Raj Mohan, a professor of a private college working in the field of water pollution says making Tamirabarani pure is impossible but steps could be taken to control the river getting more polluted. He suggests that the government should closely monitor the process of discharge of effluents by the industrial units and must not grant any new license for any more industries to set up their establishments close to the river banks.