THANJAVUR: Heavy inflows into Mettur dam on Saturday have brought cheers to farmers of Cauvery delta districts who are pinning their hopes on the long-term crop of 'samba' this year.
The dam, according to PWD engineers, received 77,084 cusecs at 4 pm on Saturday. "Inflow will be increasing for the next couple of days as 1.20 lakh cusecs is released from Kabini in Karnataka. We are closely watching the position and only government has to take a decision on opening the dam for samba cultivation", Anbarasan, superintending engineer, PWD told DC on Saturday.
Meanwhile, water level at Mettur dam increased by six-ft in one day. The level which stood at 54-ft on Friday evening rose to 57-ft on Saturday morning and reached 60.15 ft at 4 pm on Saturday. The storage was 24.74 tmcft.
“We need 65 tmcft or level reaching 80-ft to 90-ft for opening the dam. Then only we can maintain the flow for cultivation,” said Anbarasan.
With respect to Bhavanisagar dam, 24,000 cusecs is reaching the dam on Saturday. Further inflows may depend upon the rain in western ghats.
Farmers said that the dam should be opened in the third week of August, as there is every possibility of buildup of good storage in the coming week. Before releasing water from the dam, Kudimaramathu works and other desilting works taken up by PWD under maintenance fund should be completed. Inputs like seeds, fertilisers and co-operative credit should be made available to farmers. Government should announce the date of opening of the dam" they said.
‘Kuruvai (short-term crop)’ could not be taken up due to poor storage in Mettur dam in canal irrigated areas this year. The dam could not be opened on June 12, traditional date for opening the dam for Kuruvai cultivation consecutively for eighth year this year. So farmers lost Kuruvai in canal irrigated areas for the past eight years.
“We hope we will take a good samba crop this year with the help of Mettur water and supplement by Northeast monsoon,” said V. Jeevakumar, a farmer from Budalur and district vice president of All India Kisan Sabha.
Agriculture department officials said that 'Samba' will be taken up on 1.50 lakh hectares in Thanjavur district this year and 'Thaladi' on another 25,000 hectares. Certified samba seeds of all varieties are available in agriculture extension centres. Fertilisers are available with agriculture and co-operative departments and also in private companies, officials said....