Tiruchi district has clocked 29 p.c. deficient rain this season

Insufficient rainfall during the northeast monsoon so far this year has left most of the rain-fed tanks in the district with poor storage.

The recent spell of rainfall has not brought much inflow to the rain-fed tanks, much to the worry of farmers in the dry areas such as Manapparai, Thuraiyur, Uppilliyapuram, and Thathaiyengarpet blocks.

Rainfall data on the website of the Chennai Regional Meteorological Centre show that the district had recorded deficit rainfall so far under the North East monsoon. Between October 1 and December 4, the district had recorded 231.8 mm of rainfall against the normal of 327.6 mm, a deficiency of 29 per cent.

Of the 98 rain-fed tanks under the control of the Ariyar Division of the Public Works Department in the district, hardly five had 25 per cent storage.

The Alathudayanpatti tank, the Jamberi, one of the biggest in the district, and the Thuraiyur Chinna Eri are among the few which have got about 25 per cent storage.

All the other rain-fed tanks in the district had less than 25 per cent storage, sources in the department said. Surprisingly, even tanks in the Pachamalai foothills in Uppilliyapuram block had not received much inflow so far, the sources added.

Most of the small and minor non-PWD tanks in the rain-fed areas were dry, say farmers’ representatives. “There has not been much rain in many of the rain-fed areas of the district for the second consecutive year and most of the tanks are dry. Most farmers in the rain-fed areas had not been able to take up cultivation,” said M.P. Chinnadurai, district president, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam.

Farmers say that only if the tanks get some storage that the water table would improve.

“As the tanks remain dry, there is not much water in our wells. For the past two years, I have not been able to cultivate anything,” says Renganathan, a farmer of Manapparai, who used to raise groundnut, cotton, and sugarcane.

Although the Agriculture Department had targeted samba paddy coverage of 31,000 hectares in the non-delta areas of the district, so far transplantation had been completed only on about 10,000 hectares of land. Samba cultivation was yet to pick up in Uppilliyapuram area, where nearly 8,000 hectares was expected to be covered.

However, Agriculture Department officials were still hopeful that cultivation would pick up during the month as more rain has been forecast.