Thanjavur: Farmers of the Cauvery delta districts welcomed the opening of the Mettur dam on October 2 for samba (long term crop) cultivation this year. However, they said that water should be released without the turn system for the first 15 to 20 days so that it reaches tail end areas and farmers can complete preparatory works before the onset of the NE monsoon.
"Farmers have been demanding that water should be released once Mettur level touches 90 ft. Accordingly government decided to release water on October 2 as water level had crossed 90 ft. We welcome this. But it is a calculated risk as we need water for at least one month initially and sustaining the crop will depend upon the behaviour of the northeast monsoon. We expect the monsoon to set in from at least Deepavali, October 18. Farmers should go for short term and medium term varieties of samba paddy," said S.Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.
Sami Nadarajan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Farmers Association affiliated to the CPI(M) said that water should be released continuously for 20 days after opening of the dam. Government has announced a samba package and this should reach all needy farmers as there were malpractices in the distribution of the kuruvai package this year, benefiting only farmers owing allegiance to the ruling party, he said. "Government should ensure fair and proper distribution of samba package benefits. Commercial and co-operative banks should ensure disbursal of crop loans to all farmers as they are in dire need of money for samba cultivation with kuruvai failing this year. Crop insurance compensation should be disbursed quickly to those who have not got it so far. The agriculture department should ensure availability of short term and medium varieties of paddy seeds," said Nadarajan.
P.Maniarasan, co-ordinator of the Cauvery Urimai Meetpu Kuzhu, also welcomed the opening of dam. Farmers should go for short term and medium term varieties, he said....