Thanjavur: Steady increase in the storage at Mettur dam and precipitation in the Cauvery delta districts have kindled hopes among farmers of Cauvery delta districts about a “good samba (long-term paddy)” crop this year.
Kuruvai (short term paddy crop) had not been raised for the past six years in canal irrigated areas due to poor storage in Mettur dam and for 'samba', the dam was opened for irrigation late.
Yet, farmers could manage to raise 'samba' in canal irrigated areas despite late opening of Mettur dam in the last five years, by going in for technologies like direct sowing etc.
“This year also we did not take up Kuruvai in canal irrigated areas. But now with Mettur level touching 80-ft and storage standing at 42.35 tmcft, we expect the government to open the dam soon” said Sami Nadarajan, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association affiliated to the CPI(M).
“Our party's demand is to open the dam before September 27. The reasons are that we can manage as delta districts have been experiencing rain and there may not be problem in Mettur water reaching tail end areas. If the dam is opened before September 27, water will reach tail end areas before October first week. If farmers start cultivation using medium term varieties, the crop can be sustained with Northeast Monsoon in November which is predicted by Meteorological department as to be normal this year” said Sami Nadarajan.
Sundara Vimalanathan, secretary, Thanjavur District Farmers Protection association, said that people thought that the government would continuously release water for cultivation after it released water for Mahapushkaram. But it is not so, Vimalanathan said. (7,000 cusecs of water was released from Grand Anaicut into Cauvery to facilitate devotees to take holy dip at Mahapushkaram at Mayiladuthurai).
Now with level reaching 80-ft, the government should open the dam for cultivation, Vimalanathan said. He also demanded 'samba' package to be announced by the government to enthuse farmers to take up 'samba' paddy cultivation. He cited the example of last year when package of about Rs 64.30 crore was announced by J.Jayalalithaa, former Chief Minister.
This year also government should announce 'samba' package to enthuse farmers to take up samba cultivation. “This year government announced 'Kuruvai' package to the tune of Rs 56 crore, but it has not reached all farmers,” Vimalanathan said.
P.R.Pandian, coordinator of 'Thamzhaga Anaithu Vivasayigal Orunginaippu Kuzhu' said that government should announce the date of opening of the dam immediately. “We, farmers are of the opinion that the dam should be opened before this month end. Samaba package should be announced and subsidy should be given for ploughing, transplantation, fertilizer and seeds. Water release should be full in all systems-Cauvery, Vennar, Grand Anaicut canal at least for 15 days so that farmers can take up cultivation quickly.” “The PWD can reduce the number of days by increasing the quantum of water release. There is no point in giving less water for more days,” Pandian reasoned.
The PWD engineers said that they are expecting the government to announce the date of opening of the dam and that the department has prepared plans for judicious management of water release.
Bhavanisagar dam water can be used
Mannargudi S.Ranganathan, secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, told DC that the dam should be opened only when the level touches 90-ft. Till then Bhavanisagar dam water can be used. There is a government order that during emergencies, Bhavanisagar dam water could be used. "So if we take 20,000 cusecs for four to five days, water level will improve by that time in Mettur dam and then it could be opened" suggested Ranganathan.
From this year this could be tried, namely, using Bhavanisagar dam water, he said. To fulfill the sentiments of people, water was released into the Cauvery for Mahapushkaram. As we had water in Kabini, this could be done, Ranganathan said....