Staff Reporter

THENI: With the onset of southwest monsoon and a marginal improvement in flow into Periyar dam, the Public Works Department has increased the discharge to 300 cusecs for irrigating the first crop in 14, 707 acres of double crop area in Cumbum valley on Friday.

The quantum of release has been marginally increased in response to appeals from farmers in the valley.

An increase in release by 100 cusecs would be very useful to farmers in tail-end areas to raise nurseries. Water did not reach tail- end areas owing to parched riverbed and illegal pumping of water using motors from the river in Cumbum and Uthamapalayam areas, said farmers. The initial release of 200 cusecs was insufficient even to raise nurseries.

Farmers have also expressed concern over delay in completion of 18 Canal Scheme head works as transplantation work would commence in the next 20 days. Since a large quantum of water would be required for transplantation, delay in construction would affect discharge from the dam into the river, they felt.

Agriculture activities such as preparing the field and ploughing are in full swing in the valley.