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Farmers boycott grievance meet

Special Correspondent
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Some of them sought regulation in distribution of water for irrigation

Expressing their displeasure over the release of water for irrigation to all the 1.50 lakh acres for paddy cultivation from the Vaigai reservoir on November 9, a section of farmers from the Kallanthiri-Peranai belt walked out of the grievances redressal meeting held here on Friday.

Soon after the meeting started, the agitated farmers’ rushed to the District Revenue Officer Ravindran, who was in the chair, to intervene and immediately stop release of water to all the farmers as it would not benefit any section.

PWD blamed

In the normal practice, water would be released by the PWD authorities by June for farmers in the double crop area (which irrigates 45,000 acres) and by September for those cultivating single crop would get water.

As there was inadequate storage, water was not released either in June or in September. With some rain and little improvement in storage level in the reservoir, the PWD authorities have now released water for all the farmers in the double and single crop area.

This would cause problems to all as no one would reap benefit out of the water release, they claimed.

The agitated farmers blamed it on the PWD authorities, who they charged, had misled Collector Anshul Mishra, and caused a rift among the farmers.

By releasing water to all sides, it may flow for the next fortnight.

After which, the farmers would be caught in a quagmire. Already, problems have cropped up in many villages due to the mess up caused by the authorities, association president Buthi Sigamani told reporters.

However, the PWD authorities said that they released the water based on the request made by the Farmers and Water Users’ Association.

The farmers, who walked out of the meeting, later squatted in front of the meeting hall and also shouted slogans.

They demanded a compensation of Rs 20,000 per acre as many had started the cultivation process expecting the PWD authorities to release water till the end of harvest.

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