The package included 12-hour uninterrupted three-phase power supply for agriculture, as it was done in the last two years, to ensure optimal utilisation of water. 

Seeking to re-assure Cauvery delta farmers, who again face uncertainty over water for irrigation this year, Chief Minister Jayalalalithaa on Friday announced a Rs.32.95-crore package to help them make the best of the ensuing kuruvai (short-term) paddy season.

The seven-point package, which the Chief Minister unveiled after a review meeting with Ministers and top officials at the Secretariat, assumes significance in the backdrop of the poor storage in the Mettur reservoir, and a forecast of erratic rainfall this year, though the South-west Monsoon hitting Kerala earlier in the day.   

The package included 12-hour uninterrupted three-phase power supply for agriculture, as it was done in the last two years, to ensure optimal utilisation of water. 

The State, among other things, will provide 600-foot, high-density polyethylene pipeline to each farmer at 100 per cent subsidy.

Community nurseries will be set up in advance for providing paddy seedlings at 100 per cent subsidy for starting cultivation, when Cauvery waters reach the delta areas.

Paddy transplant equipment will be provided to 200 farmer clusters at 100 per cent subsidy for timely commencement of cultivation. Given the shortage of farmhands, the clusters will be given cono weeders (harvesting machines), the Chief Minister said.

To enhance the yield, paddy mineral mixtures, zinc sulphate and other inputs for one lakh acres each will be provided at 100 per cent subsidy.

Bio-fertilizers and liquid bio-fertilizers will be provided to farmers for 50,000 acres each at 100 per cent subsidy, besides Gypsum at 100 per cent subsidy for 60,000 acres.

Usually kuruvai cultivation takes place on 3.25 lakh acres in the delta districts when there is adequate storage in the Mettur dam.

The dam, with a capacity of 120 feet, has only 41.28 feet of water.

Under the Cauvery Tribunal’s award, Karnataka should release 10.16 tmcft in June.

Even if Karnataka were to give Tamil Nadu its due share, storage in the dam will be only 51.28 feet. With this, it would not be possible to release water on June 12 for kuruvai, said an official release.

Last year, despite a 19 per cent deficit in rainfall, thanks to the steps to enrich the soil and utilise modern farm practices, besides supply of adequate quality seeds, mineral nutrients and inputs, a record 103.38 lakh tonnes of foodgrains was produced.

This year too, with dim prospects of Cauvery waters and surplus rains, the State was keen to enable farmers maximise conditions for a good kuruvai crop, Ms. Jayalalithaa said.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National