Estimating that a substantial portion of the samba crop might be lost due to recent rain triggered by cyclone Nilam, the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association (CDFWA) has urged the State government to release water till the end of February for the late ‘thaladi’ crop.
Mannargudi S. Ranganathan, general secretary of the association, told The Hindu that due to global warming there had been a sea-change in the pattern of rainfall necessitating a change in the agricultural operations as well.
For instance, the southwest monsoon had failed in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu but the northeast monsoon, which normally benefited only Tamil Nadu, had ensured copious showers in Karnataka in the last couple of days. “This is totally unusual and hence a bonus for that State.”
In the 24 hours ending 8.30 a.m. Friday, Madikeri, the main rain gauge station for Coorg, had recorded rainfall of 61 mm and the thumb rule of the Tamil Nadu PWD is that every millimetre recorded in Madikeri amounted to 1,000 cusecs inflow into the Cauvery. Besides, the rain had been fairly widespread in Karnataka.
He lamented that as the Mettur dam could not be opened on schedule (June 12) for delta irrigation and water could be released only three months later (September 17), kuruvai, the cash crop of delta, was lost to an extent of more than 75 per cent.
The samba cultivation, which could begin in most of the areas only during October, had been affected by the cyclone. The crops in the coastal tracts of the Cauvery delta had been totally submerged.
“It looks like there is no possibility of the crops being saved. That is why our association has sought a special insurance cover for the coastal farmers,” he said. Besides, the samba crop raised late in other areas, especially the low-lying regions, had also severely affected.
Mr. Ranganathan pleaded that the farmers should be helped to raise another crop, some short duration variety suited for late thaladi season.
He pointed out that Tamil Nadu Agricultural University had a number of suitable seeds. If the farmers were to go in for such crops, they would definitely require water till the end of February.
He was confident that the Mettur dam would also have appreciable inflow thanks to the precipitation due to the north-east monsoon and if Karnataka also released some water following the bountiful monsoon.