What’s the use of conducting farmers grievances day when the ryots were not getting water for irrigation and their crops were withering on the fields, irate farmers of Karur district alleged at the meeting held here on Wednesday.

The monthly farmers grievances day meet for Karur district was held here with the District Revenue Officer T. Christhuraj in the chair. Joint Director of Agriculture M. Deivendran, Joint Registrar of Cooperatives Santhanam, Personal Assistant to Collector (Agriculture) Rajendran and other officials from various departments were in attendance.

As soon as the meeting commenced, ryots whose fields are irrigated by the South Bank Canal in Kulithalai region stormed the meeting hall and alleged that their due share of water and irrigation rights have not been honoured and PWD authorities were not releasing water in the canal for irrigation.

Led by DMK local leader Thirunavukkarasu, Karur District Vivasayigal Munnetra Sangam president Marudur M. Shanmugham, Neithalur Panchayat president O. Gandhi, and TNCC Farmers Wing State vice-president Nagarajan, farmers came with dried up panicle-bearing paddy crop to give vent to their feelings at being denied water. They claimed that thousands of acres of paddy, banana, betel vine and sugar cane crops were withering for want of adequate water.

They wanted the district administration and the PWD to ensure that the available water was distributed equally among the ayacuts.What was the use of holding the grievances day meet when justifiable water management was never being thought of? First arrange for water distribution and then organize such meetings, they retorted.

Taken aback the officials tried to pacify the farmers and it took them a while before the protestors withdrew from the scene but not before letting the officials know of their ire at being denied water. There was further jolt for the officials as members of the Nangam Channel Aycutdars Association based at Nangavaram came in a procession to the Kulithalai RDO Office where the meeting was being held to present a memorandum containing similar demand to the officials. The police stopped them before they reached the venue and allowed office-bearers to present their case before the officials present.

The Nangam Channel irrigated areas include Mel Nangavaram, Nangavaram, Ananjanur, Govindanur, Tamizhcholai, Kurichi and Therkupatti covering more than 2,600 acres. Of that paddy was cultivated in more than 1,600 acres while banana, sugarcane and betel vine occupied the rest. We did not receive adequate water following which almost all paddy fields have withered fully. Despite that the officials have categorized the damage as only partial and have recommended compensation based on that account. So the State government must review the state of loss and sanction at least Rs.30,000 per acre as compensation, demanded Association president M. Paramasivam and secretary Masilamani.

Both the groups have threatened to intensify their struggle if their demands were not met within a stipulated time frame.

As the din settled, Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association leaders demanded that the government declare Karur district drought hit and award the affected farmers suitable compensation.