With vast stretches on either side of Mannargudi-Muthupet-Thiruthuraipoondi Road looking lush green, a diametrically opposite picture obtained about a month ago, it looks the ryots of this region have surmounted the water crisis for the time being.

The euphoria among farmers even in the tail-end areas of delta is palpable.

With vast stretches on either side of Mannargudi-Muthupet-Thiruthuraipoondi Road looking lush green, a diametrically opposite picture obtained about a month ago, it looks the ryots of this region have surmounted the water crisis for the time being.

The normal bounty of northeast monsoon (October-December) to Tirurvarur district is 731 mm. In just a week (October 15 – 21), the district recorded 221 mm.

S. Vasudevan, a mechanical engineer who is looking after the family property of 188 acres in a single block at Perugavazhndan, admits that the farmers were in tears till the onset of monsoon.

“After September 23, there was no rain at all. And the Mettur water reached this area only by October 3. We took a calculated risk by resorting to direct-sowing and spent more than Rs four lakh. But, it was the timely rains after October 15 that proved crucial. A team with a German technical expert which visited the farm recently is confident that the yield would be extremely impressive,” he added.

The same joyous feeling is echoed by G. Ravi of Mannukkamundan, Mannargudi taluk, and J. Krishnan, who has lands in Manankathankottam and Peruvidaimarudur.

They hope that they would get adequate water during the next few weeks, thanks to monsoon.

But, with the Mettur Dam having hardly 30 tmcft of water and Karnataka remaining unmoved regarding release of water to Tamil Nadu, despite the contempt of court case filed by Tamil Nadu, they don’t know whether to rejoice.

S. Santhanakrishnan, another farmer, said that the ideal situation would be to have one more spell of showers in a week.

At the same time, he articulated their lurking fear - whether there will be enough water to complete the cultivation because water is absolutely essential up to the end of January.

Mr. Ravi explained their apprehension. “Now we require water for 100 days. First worry is that the rains should not be too heavy as that would totally ruin the standing crops.

But rains would not continue beyond December.

As the harvest is going to be only by February 15 for the 150-day variety like Savithri, how are we going to manage the entire January with the pittance of storage in Mettur Dam?If we can’t get water during January, situation will become a repeat of 2003 when we did not even bother to harvest.”

Alleging that the prices of fertilizers have further shot up in the past couple of weeks, he pleaded that the government to check the same immediately.

Mr. Krishnan, who is looking after 40 acres , said this is the right time for the government to help the farmers out as they have taken enormous risk by raising crops.

“A large number of farmers have started insuring their crop and they can insure up to the end of December. Without insurance, crop coverage would plummet. Besides, both the Central and the State governments should release their contribution simultaneously to help the ryots”.