A report from Salem stated that inflow to the Mettur dam on Sunday crossed the 40,000-cusec mark.

Steady inflow into Mettur dam and improvement in storage augurs well for taking up long-term samba crop in the Cauvery delta districtsof Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts this year.

A report from Salem stated that inflow to the Mettur dam on Sunday crossed the 40,000-cusec mark.

The inflow was 41,867 cusecs on Sunday and the discharge was 3,000 cusecs. They added that the dam level increased by five feet in a day from 47.61 feet on Saturday to 52.90 feet on Sunday. Also, the storage improved from 16.34 thousand million cubic feet (tmcft) to 19.687 tmcft. At 4pm on Sunday, the level crossed the 50-ft mark and stood at 54.33 feet. The storage was about 20.65 tmc ft.

The release of nearly 50,000 cusecs from Kabini in Karnataka has given hopes to Tamil Nadu farmers. Last year they lost both Kuruvai and Samba crops in the canal irrigated areas.

The Thanjavur district unit of Tamil Nadu Senior Agriculture Technologists Forum has suggested opening of the dam, if the storage improves further by second week of August for the farmers to take up samba cultivation.

Farmers will start sowing for samba during second week of August. So if water is released by then, it will be beneficial for them. But this can be done only when the storage improves considerably. Otherwise, the dam should be opened in September.

In case of the dam being opened in the second week of August, farmers can go for sowing of CR1009 variety which has duration of 160 days. After that, they can go for medium term varieties like ADT45, ADT43 and ADT46 which have duration of 135 days till the end of September, according to Kalaivanan, former president and V. Palaniappan, former vice-president of the forum.

The normal coverage of the samba crop in Thanjavur district is 1.05 lakh hectares. This year, the Agriculture Department officials hope to cover 1.20 lakh hectares to make up the Kuruvai shortfall.

Meanwhile, kuruvai cultivation is under way in the pumpset-irrigated areas in Thanjavur and Tiruvarur districts. In Thanjavur, transplantation was completed on 8,172 hectares as on Sunday. “The department estimates that 15,000 hectares may be covered in Kuruvai under pumpset irrigated areas,” said an agriculture department official. Normally, 45,000 hectares are covered under the Kuruvai. As the crop could not be taken up in canal irrigated areas, there would be shortfall.

Agriculture Department is busy implementing the kuruvai package announced by the Tamil Nadu government to help farmers who have raised kuruvai in pumpset irrigated areas. Three-phase power supply is given to them for 12 hours in two phases of six hours.

About 7,820 farmers from 474 villages in Thanjavur district would be covered under the kuruvai package scheme, the official said.

More In: Tamil Nadu | National