‘At least 160 cusecs of water should be released into channel near Nachalur; old loans should be waived, fresh loans sanctioned’

Although water is flowing in the Cauvery, tail-end areas in many irrigation channels in the district are yet to get water, delaying commencement of farming operations, a section of farmers’ representatives in the district have complained.

Raising the issue at the farmers grievances day meeting here on Friday, R. Subramanian, deputy secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, said tail end areas of the Kattalai High Level Channel (KHLC), especially those downstream the Nachalur regulator, were yet to get water.

Farmers at Koundampatti, Suriyanur, Mudalaipatti, Ettarrai, Koppu, Puliyur, Posampatti, Thayanur, Pallakadu and Adavathur areas were not able to raise nurseries because of insufficient release of water into the channel from the Nachalur regulator.

“At least 160 cusecs of water should be released in the channel from Nachalur,” he said, requesting Collector Jayashree Muralidharan to issue appropriate directions to the Public Works Department.

A.Nagarajan, president, Tamil Nadu Horticulture Crop Producers’ Association, regretted that tail-end areas in most of the 17 irrigation channels were yet to get water. He urged the Collector to take steps to ensure release of adequate water to the KHLC and Uyyakondan.

A cross-section of farmers’ representatives demanded early sanction of compensation for the crop losses suffered by farmers owing to the drought conditions after monsoon failure last year.

“Although the State government sanctioned relief of Rs. 15,000 an acre not all farmers got it. Apart from paddy, farmers who raised banana, sugarcane, betel vine and other crops, had sustained heavy losses. Rescheduling short-term crop loans into medium-term loans will only push farmers into debt. All crop loans should be fully waived and fresh loans should be sanctioned immediately without any precondition to enable farmers take up samba cultivation now,” said Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, affiliated to the Communist Party of India.

Explaining the extent of losses, R. Raja Chidambaram, State Secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said the drought was so severe and prolonged that even mango and coconut had withered. “Acid lime raised in about 7,000 acres of land in over a dozen villages in Lalgudi and Manachanallur taluks have been affected and farmers had sustained huge losses. The district administration should conduct a survey and take steps to get compensation sanctioned by the government for the affected farmers,” he said.

P. Viswanathan, president, Tamizhaga Eri Mattrum Attru Pasana Vivasayigal Sangam, said mango and coconut trees in Manapparai, Marungapuri, Thottiyam, and Vaiyampatti unions had been badly affected.

As farmers were facing much hardship, banks should be instructed not to go ahead with recovery proceedings and sanction fresh loans liberally, said P. Ayyakannu, State vice-president, Bharathiya Kisan Sangam.

N. Veerasekaran, coordinator, Ayyan Vaical Pasanatharar Sangam, complained that farmers were facing several practical difficulties in getting fresh crop loans and requested the Collector to convene a coordination meeting among farmers’ representatives and secretaries of primary agricultural cooperative societies.