Official says efforts will be made to release water on July 15

Having lost two consecutive crops owing to monsoon failure, farmers of the double crop areas laid siege to the Public Works Department (PWD) office here on Thursday, demanding immediate release of water from Vaigai dam for irrigation.

The protestors were irked by the non-release of water despite the combined Periyar credit in Periyar and Vaigai reservoirs touching the mandatory 4,000-mcft mark on June 27.

The double crop area of nearly 45,000 acres between Peranai in Dindigul district and Kallandhiri in Madurai district should receive water when the Periyar credit in the dams reaches 4,000 mcft. Normally it is done on June 1. “We expected water to be released on July 4. Despite a court order passed in March this year directing water release once the storage level reached 4,000 mcft, water was not released. Irrigation has not begun even though there is a storage of about 5,100 mcft,” Arulprakasam, member of Periyar-Vaigai Irrigation Planning Committee, said.

He blamed PWD officials for the delay, claiming that they had not given the right information about the storage level and not sent a proper proposal to the government resulting in the confusion surrounding the release of water in the last two years, which resulted in heavy losses to farmers.

When PWD Chief Engineer (Southern Region) E.Tamilarasan assured the farmers that water would be released on July 25, the farmers said the delay in water release would lead to harvest during monsoon that would damage crops.

Then the farmers blocked traffic on the Gokhale Road in front of the PWD office for nearly 15 minutes.

However, the farmers dispersed after Revenue Divisional Officer Arumugam pacified them with the promise that efforts would be made to release water on July 15.