The Public Works Department is releasing only 5,000 cusecs of water into the Vennar system

Farmers of Tiruvarur district may not be able to save the standing samba crop unless they get sufficient water for two or three more wettings.

“We have grown the crop to boot leaf stage (75 days and the stage before flowering) and flowering stage (80 days). But if we don’t get water now for two more wettings we may lose the crop,” a cross section of the farmers told The Hindu on Wednesday.

The demand is nearly universal among farmers, as the crops, though green to look at, stand on parched fields. In some places the crop has started withering, indicated by a change in colour to light yellow from green.

The PWD is releasing water at 5,000 cusecs into the Vennar system, which irrigates Tiruvarur district. But this is insufficient as water cannot reach many of the areas. Farmers feel that the flow should be increased to 9,000 cusecs so that all the areas irrigated by Vennar and its branches Mulliyar, Pandavayar, Korayar and Baminiyar get water. That will help in wetting the crop in areas such as Thattankoil, Kottur, Irulneeki, Vikkirapandiyam and Andankarai in Kottur panchayat union.

Senthilvelan, a farmer of Irulneeki village, said he raised samba crop on 20 acres. Of this, he had cultivated the crop under direct sowing on 10 acres and transplanted the crop in the rest. “Both the crops are in boot leaf stage and need water”, he said.

At Vikkirapandiyam, a group of women farmers were in tears when they showed the field where the standing crop was starving for water. Lakshmi, a farm woman, said she raised the crop on 2.5 acres and was pained to see the drying crop every day.

P. R. Pandiyan, State council member of the Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, said crops needed water every 15 days three times. “They are 70 to 75 days old and need water for 50 more days. If a wetting is done once in 15 days it will sustain the crop. For that the PWD should increase the release into the Vennar.”

S. Ranganathan, Secretary, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, said crops were in three different stages in the district. Nearly 50,000 hectares irrigated by agriculture pump sets were safe. Directly sown and transplanted crop in canal-irrigated areas need water. Those directly sown in the middle and later part of August can be saved.

The second batch of directly sown paddy in September and late September also need water to survive. With respect to transplanted crops using plant seedlings from community nurseries, they are planted during late September and early October. They too need water to survive.

According to Agriculture department officials, samba crop has been raised on 1.31 lakh hectares in the district and Thaladi on 13,625 hectares.

Out of this, direct sowing has been done on 74,700 hectares.

Meanwhile, farmers continued their agitation demanding water release from Karnataka at various places on Wednesday. At Kottur, farmers led by P. R. Pandian, State Council member of Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam organised a road roko and staged a demonstration before the BSNL office condemning Karnataka for not releasing water and protesting against the alleged indifferent attitude of the Centre.


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