Heavily silted irrigation channels and bone dry beds decelerate the flow of water

There seems to be no end in sight for the woes of tail-end area farmers in Karur and Tiruchi districts as they continue to yearn for the water released from the Cauvery into the irrigation channels some days ago.

Beset with drought conditions for a particularly long period that drained them all of energy and spirit, farmers in the tail-end areas of Karur district such as Nangavaram, Nachalur, and Thayanur along with the farmers in the borders of Tiruchi district including Ettarai and Koppu regions that fall under the Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s Srirangam Assembly constituency were hoping that the water released into the Kattalai High Level Channel would some how reach their fields in time for taking up farm operations.

However, the heavily silted irrigation channel coupled with the bone dry beds that absorbed water quickly decelerated the flow impeding water from reaching the tail-end areas. Farmers in the regions have been demanding for long to take up dredging works in the irrigation channels to facilitate easy flow of water. But the PWD River Conservancy Division could not take up the works owing to a plethora of problems, most of which were not concerning the farmers.

Delay in assessing the situation, processing the plans, sanctioning of funds, and getting administrative clearance for the works were just a few of the hindrances that worked against farmers’ interests. “Suddenly rains in Kodagu region flooded the Cauvery and forced the PWD to let water in irrigation channels that branch off Cauvery at Mayanur. The officials were least prepared to assist the region farmers to utilise the full flow as water simply could no go beyond certain distance in the irrigation channels courtesy the heavy silt and wild growth,” points out a floriculturist S. Gurumurthy of Koppu.

“We have been pleading with the State government for the renovation of irrigation channels including South Bank Canal and Kattalai High Level Channel that feed the fields in the border of the two districts. Shutters and sluices in the channels must have been renovated and the damaged items must have been replaced. But none of those demands were met and we are forced to suffer now when there is flow in the river and we could not utilise it,” says deputy secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association Kavandampatti R. Subramanian.

The agony is that when the river is carrying water in full the tail-end areas of the channels are still yearning for water. That situation must be addressed expeditiously to quench the thirst of farmers, Mr.Subramanian says.

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