G. Srinivasan

Owing to the delay in opening of Mettur dam

Thanjavur: Owing to the delay in the opening of Mettur dam, kuruvai area under canal irrigation may be reduced this year in the district.

Against 45,000 hectares of kuruvai raised in normal years when the dam is opened on the traditional date of June 12, this year, the Agriculture Department has plans to raise kuruvai on 23,000 hectares only, as the dam could not be opened on Tuesday.

The level in the dam stood at 73.65 ft and the storage was only 35.919 tmc ft on Tuesday.

The Public Works Department Minister, Durai Murugan, who visited Thanjavur recently, made it clear that the guidelines for opening the dam stipulated that the level should be at 90 ft and there should be a good monsoon to open the dam in order to maintain continuously supply.

However, the area under alternate crop cultivation had increased this year in the district compared to the last year. Against only 3,500 to 5,000 hectares last year, alternate crops have been raised on 11,000 hectares this year. (Last year Mettur dam was opened on the traditional date of June 12). Pulses as alternate crops have been raised on 5,500 hectares. This includes both black gram and green gram.

According to the Joint director of Agriculture, M. Jothi, black gram varieties of T9 and ADT 45 have been raised in areas like Thanjavur, Thirukattupalli, Thiruvaiyaru, Valangaiman and Papanasam. "Farmers can get a good profit as black gram is sold at Rs.30 per kg now," Mr. Jothi said. Gingelly has been raised as an alternate crop on 1,500 hectares, groundnut on 900 hectares, maize on 250 hectares and sunflower on 150 hectares.

Meanwhile, farmers started raising kuruvai crop in pumpset irrigated areas. The transplantation has been completed on 6,000 hectares under pumpset irrigated areas. Varieties raised by farmers are ADT36, ADT 42, ADT 43, ADT 45 and ADT 47.