Police block attempt to enter collectorate; minor agitation ensues

A number of farmers of the district, who turned up with withering crops, squatted in front of the collectorate here on Monday morning demanding release of at least 3,000 cusecs of water from Mettur Dam to save the standing crops in the 17-channel area.

Led by representatives of various associations including Ayilai Sivasauriyan, S. Masilamani, C.Chinnadurai, S.Subramanian and Puliyur A. Nagarajan, they wanted to meet Collector Jayashree Muralidharan to submit a memorandum.

However, the police were prepared to permit only a few of them to meet the collector which infuriated the farmers. The police pointed out that already the collectorate was crowded because of the people who have gathered in large numbers to submit petitions to the collector as Monday happens to the public grievances day.

But when the farmers tried to get into the collectorate, the police closed the main gate sparking a minor agitation.

They then squatted in front of the collectorate and raised slogans. They also wanted the Collector to meet them at the gate.

However, Senthamizhselvan, Personal Assistant (General) to the Collector, who received their memorandum at the gate, pacified them.

The farmers later told media persons that annual crops including banana, sugarcane and betel vines, apart from paddy, raised in about two lakh acres in the 17-channel area have started withering because of very poor water supply. The current release of about 1,000 cusecs would not reach the 17 channels and hence the release should be stepped up at least to 3,000 cusecs, they demanded.

Their demands include compensation of Rs.40,000 per acre for farmers who have lost samba crop, construction of barrages near the drinking water schemes along the Cauvery, and stoppage of power supply to lift irrigation societies between Mettur and Mayanur as they were drawing water flouting the conditions, and waiver off farm loans.