Report sent to the State government, say officials
A comprehensive survey of the crop failure in the district had been completed and a report sent to the government, Agriculture Department officials said here on Thursday.
The survey was conducted in response to appeals for compensation by farmers reeling under losses due to a failed monsoon.
Collector Anshul Mishra, Joint Director (Agriculture) S. Rajendran and other officials spearheaded the survey.
According to officials, the survey addressed four broad questions — (a) normal area of cultivation, (b) area covered, (c) unsown area and (d) area affected — (I) over 50 per cent and (II) less than 50 per cent.
The district has a total area under cultivation of around one lakh hectares, which includes paddy, millet, pulses, oil seeds, cotton and sugarcane. Paddy cultivation alone covers 61,000 hectares.
The survey indicated that of the 13 blocks, Madurai East, Vadipatti and Melur blocks had extensive unsown area. Farmers in this pocket relied on water from the Periyar reservoir and preferred to keep away off cultivation for fear of getting into debt, officials said.
Kalligudi and Kallupatti blocks near Tirumangalam are severely affected due to lack of water for irrigation. Farmers resumed agricultural activity after the PWD released water from the reservoir.
After a fortnight, when there was no rainfall, the officials realised that the available water would be sufficient just for 10 days. Farmers are demanding water supply to cover 75 days.
Mr. Mishra said that farmers who had their own water sources were able to grow crops.
Agriculture Department officials are recommending that farmers switch from paddy to crops that are less heavily reliant on water availability.
Close to 45,000 hectares had been left fallow in the district this season, raising farmers’ hopes for a fair compensation from the government.