K. Subramanian

Owing to delay in release of water from Mettur dam

Farmers plan to raise only single paddy crop
Officials in a fix due to the piquant situation

NAGAPATTINAM: With uncertainty over the release of water from the Mettur reservoir for Cauvery delta irrigation in the near future, most of the farmers in the Vennar river command area of Nagapattinam, Kilvelur and Vedaranyam taluks in the district, who depend on river water for irrigation due to inadequate groundwater potential in the Vennar basin, have decided to skip the short-term kuruvai paddy crop this year.

A cross-section of farmers in Vennar division area told that they were planning to skip the kuruvai crop and raise only single paddy crop along with the samba crop if the Mettur water was released next month. They pointed out that it would take at least 15 days for the Mettur water to reach the entire tail-end area from the date of opening of the dam.

Agriculture department officials are also in a fix and are not able to advise the farmers to go in for the kuruvai crop because of the piquant situation. They pointed out that raising the kuruvai crop even in the first week of August would face the wrath of the northeast monsoon rains in October.

The Agriculture department has enough stock of paddy seeds, fertilizers, etc to meet the requirement of the farmers, an official said.

Kuruvai crop used to be raised in the normal area of about 35,000 hectares in the district of which nearly 25,000 hectares coming under the Cauvery division command area of Kuttalam, Mayiladuturai, Vaitheeswarankovil and Sirkazhi areas and the remaining 10,000 hectares in Vennar division area.

Farmers in Mayiladuturai region had raised the kuruvai paddy nurseries well in advance with the help of pumpsets taking advantage of good groundwater potential in the region without waiting for the release of Mettur water for irrigation.

Official sources said that farmers had already transplanted the kuruvai paddy seedlings in about 15,000 hectares and awaiting the release of water for transplanting the nurseries to cover about 7,000 hectares. About 3,000 hectares is likely to be skipped in the belt.

Crop loans

Meanwhile, the Collector, Tenkasi S. Jawahar, has issued instructions to all the primary agricultural co-operative banks (PACBs) and commercial banks to issue crop loans to the farmers quickly without causing them hardship.

The PACBs had been told the issue crop loans to farmers by accepting the certificates issued by the respective village administrative officers (VAOs) about the owner and extent of the land, etc without insisting on the computerised `chitta’ from the taluk offices for issue of loans.