Anguished over depletion of storage in Karnataka dams due to summer irrigation

Expressing concern over the storage position in the Mettur dam and the poor inflow to it, representatives of farmers organisations of the district have urged the Union government to immediately gazette the final award of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal. The farmers' representatives turned up at the monthly grievances day meeting wearing black badges in a symbolic protest against the Karnataka move to deplete the storage in its dams by releasing water for summer irrigation, here on Friday.

In a joint representation submitted to the district administration, representatives of various farmers' organisations, including the District Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said the use of water for summer irrigation in Karnataka has raised a question mark over opening of the Mettur dam for irrigation on the scheduled date of June 12. They demanded that Tamil Nadu's monthly quota of water be released as stipulated in the final award of the Cauvery Tribunal.

G.Kanagasabai, president, District Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said the present storage of about 75 feet in the Mettur dam would not be adequate for opening the dam on time and regretted that Karnataka was adopting an obstinate stand on the issue. Mr.Kanagasabai also called upon the district administration and the Public Works Department to take steps to clear silt from irrigation channels and check indiscriminate sand mining on the Coleroon river. He urged the Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation to ensure uninterrupted power to agricultural connections in the promised six-hour period of three-phase supply.

Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district president, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, demanded that farmers be given diesel generators at subsidised rates in view of the severe power shortage. P.Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Tank and River Irrigated Area Farmers Association, alleged that farmers were not being given 3-phase supply for three hours during the nights, contrary to the claims of TANGEDCO. He demanded 3-phase supply for six hours during the day. N.Veerasekaran of Ayyan Vaical Pasanatharar Sangam called upon the TANGEDCO to promptly repair defective transformers.

R.Raja Chidambaram, state secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, called upon the district administration to direct the National Highways Authority of India to remove the partially laid bypass road between the Dindigul Highway and the Karur Highway as it was affecting the water flow to irrigation tanks. The work was stopped after the High Court directed the NHAI not to lay the road across irrigation tanks.

He also complained that some of the nationalised banks were charging a processing for jewellery loans for agriculture and demanded that the practice be stopped forthwith. P.Ayyakannu, state vice president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh, called upon the Forest Department to take steps to catch monkeys and wild boars, which were damaging crops in the district. If the department was not able to take up the task, farmers should be allowed to catch the wild boars, he demanded. Expressing disappointment over the functions of the Animal Husbandry department in the district, A.Nagarajan, president, Tamil Nadu Horticulture Crop Producers Association, alleged that veterinary doctors were not attending the dispensaries regularly.

R.Subramanian of the District Cauvery Delta Farmers Association urged the district administration to take steps to get the government sanction for the proposal on modernising the Kattalai High Level Channel.