Tamil Nadu has rejected Kerala’s demand for 1,750 mcft of water and has agreed to release just 600 mcft of water from the inter-State Parambikulam Aliyar Project from December 15 to January 31 for the standing paddy crop on 18,000 hectares of land irrigated by the Chitturpuzha scheme.
The water to be released will not be enough even to save one-fourth of the crop, the farmers here say.
The Tamil Nadu government has rejected the demand of Kerala for an urgent meeting of the Joint Water Regulatory Board of the project to discuss the issue.
K. Ranganathan, Chief Engineer (Inter-State Water), Water Resources Organisation, Tamil Nadu, in his letter to the Chief Engineer of the Kerala Water Resources Department P. Lathika on Wednesday, said, “Since the water storage is very poor and the average yield is only 50 per cent of the yield of a normal water year, it is not possible to provide more than 600 mcft of water to Chittur from December 15 to January 31, 2013.” The letter, however, said, “If the storage position improves due to rainfall in this period, we will review the quantity agreed.”
If there is no rain in the third week of December, the paddy crop on more than 12,000 hectares of land in Chittur will be destroyed, Muthalathode Mani, general secretary of the Deshiya Karshaka Samajam, a farmers’ organisation, said.
Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said in the Assembly on Wednesday, in reply to a submission from V. Chenthamarakshan, MLA, that he would take up the matter personally with his Tamil Nadu counterpart, there was no development on the issue on Thursday, officials said.
They said that only a high-level political intervention by the Kerala government could save the situation.
A delegation of farmers’ organisations and the Jala Samrakshana Samithi will meet Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph with a demand to take immediate steps to get water released.
The farmers said the Parambikulam group of reservoirs had 4.5 tmcft of water as on Thursday. Kerala was asking only 1.75 tmcft of it. Under the project agreement, Kerala should get 7.25 tmcft during the water year that began in June, but has got only 3 tmcft so far.