Chennai: As part of soil and water conservation project, state agriculture department has intensified water harvesting works in rainwater catchment areas of southern and western districts at a cost of Rs 9 crore. Eight hundred farm ponds in dry Ramnad district have been identified and half of them deepened ahead of northeast monsoon.
“Farm ponds are cost effective rain water harvesting structures and the project has now gained momentum among the farming community. The water stored in the farm ponds can be used for supplemental irrigation of rainfed crops like chillies, pulses and millets during critical stages of growth”, explained an official with agriculture department.
For the current fiscal, deepening of 800 farm ponds were announced in the assembly and the works are progressing at a cost of Rs 4.19 Crore in Ramanathapuram district, the official added.
Meanwhile agricultural engineering department as part of the soil and water conservation measures had also taken up deepening of 201 percolation ponds, silt detention tanks and landslide treatment related works in the districts that are now receiving rains and for this work a sum of Rs 7.91 crore has been released and the works are in progress.
However farmers in western and delta districts are unhappy with the state agriculture department has the department has failed to address the irrigation related issues including the compensation. “All we want from the agriculture and PWD department is early release of Cauvery water from Mettur and Bhavani Sagar dam,” said S. Kasinathan, a farmer based in Papannasam, Thanjavur district.