Release of water in the irrigation canals is expected to recharge water table

Buoyed over the release of water in irrigation canals, including Pullampadi and New Kattalai High Level (NKHLC) channels, farmers in Tiruchi district are gearing up to commence samba paddy cultivation over the next few days.

Farmers are expected to start raising nurseries over the next 10 days as the water flows to the interior parts of the district through the canals. The release of surplus water in the irrigation canals is expected to contribute to a rise in the water table. There is already an appreciable rise in the water level in wells in Musiri along the banks of the Cauvery.

“The release of surplus water in the canals will help improve the water table and farmers in pumpset-irrigated areas will take up samba cultivation soon,” said Mahadhanapuram V. Rajaram, working president, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association.

Farmers in the canal irrigated areas are happy after a long spell of dry weather. “It is a special year as water is being released simultaneously in the Cauvery river for irrigation in the core delta districts (Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam) and the irrigation channels. Farmers are gearing up to make the most of it,” said P. Ayyakannu, State vice-president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangam.

However, he appealed to the State government to build a new canal from Hogenakkal to Ayyar in Tiruchi district so as to harness the surplus flow. Such a project would help stabilise irrigation for over 2.5 lakh acres of land. This would help the traditionally dry belts in Thottiyam, Thathaiyengarpet, and Musiri blocks in a big way, he said.

Above normal

Agriculture Department officials have announced that adequate quantity of seeds and fertilizers have been moved to the cooperative societies and private shops. The department officials will conduct a samba cultivation campaign to sensitise farmers to latest farming techniques in 204 villages in the delta areas of the district. System of rice intensification technology will be promoted on about 56,000 acres of land.

The department officials expect the samba paddy coverage to easily exceed the anticipated coverage of 92,250 acres of land in the district this year as against the normal area of 87,250 acres.

“We expect that the shortfall in kuruvai area (on account of drought) will be compensated in samba. If we get good rainfall, more area will be covered in the non-delta areas,” said an officer of the department.

But southwest monsoon has been scanty in the district. The district has received just 11.7 mm of rainfall between June 1 and August 8 against the normal of 95.8 mm for the same period. Farmers in the non-delta areas are pinning their hopes on the northeast monsoon now.