Chennai: The Cauvery dispute is certain to be a major political issue this year too as Kuruvai paddy cultivation is not possible for the sixth consecutive year since the storage level at Mettur dam is not sufficient for water release.
The date for water release for kuruvai from Mettur dam is June 12 every year, but it has not been happening for the last five years due to insufficient water storage in Mettur dam. The present storage level of the dam is 23.56 feet. The water level should be at least 90 feet in the dam to facilitate release of water for irrigation.
About 16 lakh acres of land in 12 districts including Salem, Namakkal, Erode, Karur, Tiruchy, Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Pudukottai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam, Ariyalur and Perambalur rely on Cauvery water for irrigation.
The Cauvery row is likely to be a burning political issue this year due to loss of Kuruvai crop. Besides, non-availability of Cauvery water could keep alive the various protests against the Methane projects in the delta districts.
Commenting on the issue, PMK youth wing leader Anbumani Ramadoss said the state farmers had lost Rs 15,000 crore in the last five years due to lack of water for irrigation. No water release is possible for a month and if the cultivation is started later crops will be destroyed by northeast monsoon rains, he noted.
Farmers associations in the state alleged that Karnataka had diverted water to lakes and ponds and demanded that the Supreme Court form an expert panel to survey the water bodies in Karna-taka.
Coordinator of federation of Tamil Nadu Farmers associations, P.R. Pandian who made the allegation also accused that the Centre is trying to form a single tribunal in place of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal in a bid to nullify its verdict to share Cauvery water.
Sami Natarajan, leader of Cauvery Protection Association said also demanded the formation of Cauvery Management Board to implement the tribunal