S. Vydhianathan

Ryots asked to start work on samba cultivation

Possible to cover normal area of 4.3 lakh hectares: Agriculture department

CHENNAI: Water from the Stanley reservoir in Mettur will be released for samba cultivation in delta districts from August 7, as the inflow into the reservoir has increased due to heavy rain in the Cauvery catchments in Karnataka and Kerala, Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi told the Assembly on Tuesday.

Making a suo motu statement in the House, the Chief Minister said the level in the reservoir had increased to 81 ft on Monday from 60 ft on July 14. “The dam receives an average inflow of 60,000 cusecs and the level is expected to reach 90 ft in two weeks if the same inflow continues,” he said.

He called upon the Cauvery delta farmers to start the preparatory works for samba cultivation. The storage in the reservoir on Tuesday was 47 thousand million cubic (TMC) feet, with an inflow of 43,000 cusecs, against the capacity of 93.47 tmc ft. The reservoir is now getting an inflow of 23,000 cusecs from the Kabini reservoir and 1,000 cusecs from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) dam.

The inflow in the coming days may increase further as Karnataka may release water from the KRS dam also in a day or two, as it is nearing its full level.

The storage in the KRS dam on Tuesday was 45.3 tmc ft, against the capacity of 49 tmc ft., with an inflow of 53,000 cusecs, according to a Public Department official here.

Farmers happy

Delta farmers expressed happiness over the government decision to open the reservoir on August 7. They felt that it was too late to go for kuruvai cultivation now. Any attempt to take up kuruvai cultivation at this stage would be a risk, as the matured crop would have to withstand the north-east monsoon rains during October–November. The situation, according to them, was ideal for going in for long-term samba crop. Even for that they could prepare for preliminary operations only after the receipt of river water, as the field now was dry in the absence of rain.

S. Ranganathan, Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association general secretary, said opening the reservoir on August 7 would enable farmers to go for the samba crop. He cautioned the farmers against going for the kuruvai crop at this stage.

An Agriculture Department official said it would be possible to cover the normal area of 4.3 lakh hectares under samba crop in the current season. The department had adequate stock of seeds and fertilizers. Farmers had been advised to adopt the system of rice intensification technique to improve the yield.

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