Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday accused the Centre of being least concerned about the Cauvery dispute, a livelihood issue for Tamil Nadu, as the Union government was suffering from “policy paralysis”.
Recalling a letter she wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh two months ago, urging him to convene the Cauvery River Authority (CRA) meeting, the Chief Minister, in a statement, lamented that till now, no action had been taken by the Centre.
“It seems that the Union government, caught in daily squabbles of its constituents, has no time to pay attention to people’s problems such as this [the Cauvery dispute].” It did not heed her repeated pleas for notification of the Cauvery Water Disputes Tribunal’s final order in the gazette. In April, the State government filed an interim petition in the Supreme Court in this regard. In March, another petition was filed in the court, seeking to restrain the Karnataka from releasing water from its dams for summer crops in that State, an act prohibited in the Tribunal’s final award, and utilise water in excess of 103.24 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) as stipulated in the award for four dams of the neighbouring State.
Responding to reports in sections of the media that the extent of kuruvai coverage in the State had gone down steeply this year and there would be adverse impact on rice production, Ms. Jayalalithaa said even though this year’s south-west monsoon had failed and Karnataka had not released to Tamil Nadu the quantum of water as per distress sharing formula, she had taken steps to ensure that the kuruvai crop was being raised to some extent.
Pointing out that she took two review meetings in May and June on the issues of cultivation and water storage, she recounted her direction that about 80,000 farm pumpsets in the Cauvery delta be provided 12-hour, three-phase power supply since June 17.
Till July 19, the kuruvai cultivation had been taken up over 87,000 acres. In 10 days, 50,000 acres more would be covered, depending upon nursery.
This would mean that the crop would be raised on 1.37 lakh acres this year.
It was because of the 12-hour supply that 37,000 acres would be additionally covered.
Giving an account of steps being taken by the Agriculture Department to promote efficient use of inputs in times of water shortage, the Chief Minister referred to a project of seed drill by machine over 200 acres in Thanjavur district to apply seeds and fertilizers simultaneously. This would be extended to 250 acres in five taluks.
All over the State, the paddy cultivation was, as of now, taken up over three lakh acres. By the end of July, 1.52 lakh acres more would be covered. Against the target of 6.5 lakh acres under short term crops – kuruvai [in the delta], Kar and Sornavari [the terms used in southern and northern regions], steps had been taken to cover 4.52 lakh acres totally.
Explaining the significance of the Cauvery delta in the State’s profile of farm operations, she said that of 47.5 lakh acres covered for paddy, the delta accounted for 40 per cent of the area.
The kuruvai crop was planted during June and July over 3.2 lakh acres; Samba (August and September) – 11.5 lakh acres and Thaladi (September and October) – three lakh acres.