SALEM: Renewing his bond with the Cauvery delta farmers, the Chief Minister, Mr. Edappadi K Palaniswami released water from the historic Mettur reservoir near here on Thursday for irrigation in the wake of voluminous excess inflows from upper riparian Karnataka taking up its storage level to over 100-ft on Wednesday.
Mr. Palaniswami released the shutters at a simple and elegant function at Mettur dam this morning, even as he led his Cabinet colleagues and others in showering flower petals into the brimming reservoir in an act of thanks-giving to mother Cauvery. He also laid the foundation stone for a Rs.2 crore memorial near the reservoir, besides kick-starting works on renovating the sprawling dam park.
Speaking at the function, he said, “the 48-year-long legal battle for getting our rights on Cauvery water was made successful by former Chief Minister Amma by following up on the Tribunal’s final order. Now, as per Supreme Court’s final order, Karnataka has to release 177.25 tmcft of water for Tamil Nadu. Ms. Jayalalithaa struggled till the end of her life for Cauvery water rights and she first brought the issue to the notice of the Centre by undertaking 80 hours of fasting.”
He recalled that she discussed about Cauvery water dispute, even when she was undergoing treatment at Apollo hospital. He said, “following discussions with the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) and CWRC, Karnataka released 9.19 tmcft of water, which had to be released for the month of June and 31.24 tmcft of water to be released for the month of July. Similarly, Karnataka should release 45.95 tmcft for August, 36.76 tmcft for September, 20.22 tmcft for October, 13.78 tmcft for November, 7.35 tmcft for December, 2.70 tmcft for January and 2.50 tmcft for February as per the court verdict. The recent monsoon helped to increase water level in Mettur dam into 109-ft and it is expected to reach its full level of 120-ft within next three days.” According to officials, 2,000 cusecs of water is being released in the first phase and it would be increased gradually up to 20,000 cusecs based on requirement.
Adverting to the 83-yearold Mettur reservoir not having been desilted all these years, Mr. Palaniswami recalled how last year he had, responding to farmers’ long-pending demand, directed that the dam area be desilted and the accumulated rich alluvial earth from the dam be distributed to farmers free of cost.
“As a result of our (AIADMK0 government’s order, every day the rich alluvial earth were transported by 3,000 trucks to farmers lands, which were used by them as natural fertiliser; those farmers told me that thanks to your historic initiative to desilt the Mettur reservoir, we were able to use it as organic fertiliser in our fields in place of chemical fertilizers we have been used to for long years; the use of this ‘vandal mann’ has helped to boost the crop production from our fields,” Mr. Palaniswami said. “On the one hand, the scooping up of alluvial soil from the reservoir helped to desilt and deepen the dam area to enable it hold more water and on the other it has been a big source of free organic fertiliser for the farmers,” the CM said, adding, this arrangement will be announced as an annual scheme for the benefit of farmers after the water in the dam dries up every year.”
State ministers K.A. Sengottaiyan, P Thangamani, K.P. Anbalagan, V. Saroja, M.R. Vijaybaskar, K.C. Karuppannan and Salem district collector Ms. Rohini R. Bhajibakhare were among those who participated in the function....