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Concern over poor storage in Mettur

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CAREFUL: Farmers applying fertilizer on kuruvai paddy crop at Koothapar in Tiruchi district on Thursday.
CAREFUL: Farmers applying fertilizer on kuruvai paddy crop at Koothapar in Tiruchi district on Thursday.

S.Ganesan

Farmers reluctant to take up cultivation of kuruvai and samba paddy crop this year

TIRUCHI: The depleting storage level at the Mettur reservoir appears to have sown the seeds of doubt among farmers in Tiruchi district, manifest through the hesitation among many of them to go in for kuruvai and samba paddy crop this year.

It remains to be seen whether the Agriculture Department would be able to achieve its target of 6,000 hectares of kuruvai paddy coverage in the district as farmers dependent on some of the irrigation channels fed by the Cauvery river have been reluctant to take upthe crop.

So far, kuruvai paddy has been raised in just about 2,500 hectares and another 1,000 hectares were expected to be covered after nurseries are transplanted before the end of this month.

However, Agriculture Department officials believe that the first spell of heavy rains over the past few days would spur farmers to go in for the crop. The coverage could be higher after next month’s reconciliation of figures, says Joint Director of Agriculture N.Ponnusamy.

He believes that any shortfall in kuruvai would be compensated during the samba season as farmers who have not gone for cultivation now would go in for early samba soon.

Samba is the major paddy season for Tiruchi district and about 60,000 hectares is covered under the crop. Sowing of seeds for samba would normally begin towards the end of July or in early August.

But many farmers seem to be keeping their fingers crossed on samba prospects too.

“There is some hesitation among farmers as they were worried whether they would be able to get adequate water to sustain the crop. But we hope that the monsoon, which has started now, would see us through,” says G.Kanagasabai, President, District Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association.

Association deputy general secretary R. Subramanian says that many farmers getting supply through the Kattalai High Level Channel, the Uyyakondan and few other channels have not opted for the kuruvai crop, as they were not sure whether the tailend areas would receive adequate water.

“Only those in well-irrigated areas are confident of going in for the crop. Others in the channel-irrigated areas are in a dilemma on whether to go in for samba or not,” says P.Ayyakannu, Secretary, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh.

“We do not know what the government is planning and hope it would ensure that the 17 irrigation channels fed by the Cauvery river in Tiruchi and its neighbouring districts get adequate water for the season,” says Mr.Subramanian.

According to Mr.Ponnusamy, about 585 tonnes of seeds and adequate quantity of fertilizers, including di-ammonium phosphate, were available for the samba season in the district.

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