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Lack of rainfall hits paddy crop

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Scorched for water:Affected paddy field at Melapassalai near Manamadurai in Sivaganga district.
Scorched for water:Affected paddy field at Melapassalai near Manamadurai in Sivaganga district.

In Manamadurai, Ilayankudi and Thiruppuvanam blocks in Sivaganga district

SIVAGANGA: Hundreds of acres of paddy raised in Manamadurai, Ilayankudi and Thiruppuvanam blocks in Sivaganga district have been badly hit due to lack of rainfall.

Though several parts of the district have been classified as rainfed areas, most of the areas of Manamadurai and Thiruppuvanam are classified under system irrigation.

They are fed by the Vaigai.

As usual, around 55,000 acres were brought under paddy cultivation in Manamadurai, Ilayankudi and Thiruppuvanam blocks during the last season [October-January] expecting good rainfall as well as discharge of the share of water from the Vaigai dam to Sivaganga district.

Though the pattern of growth was reportedly good until the second week of December, the failure of rainfall in the last stage of the crop resulted in the downfall since then.

Now, the farmers, who should have been busy harvesting by this period, are looking for the help of the government to come to their rescue.

“I have spent Rs.25,000 for raising paddy in my 2.5 acres of land holding. The failure of rainfall has dented my hope of having a good yield. The paddy crop could have been saved if it received one spell in the last week of December,” said V. Karuppaiah (40) of Melapasalai near Manamadurai.

Cross section of farmers felt that inspite of fervent demand, the officials concerned failed to act at the appropriate time to open the Vaigai dam to irrigate the paddy fields to save the crop.

M. Archunan, district secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist), said that several farmers including him raised the demand at several forums seeking release of water from the Vaigai dam in December, when the storage level was satisfactory. If it was released in the last week of December, farmers might have tasted the fruit of hard work.

There were reports that only those who had pumpset connection were able to have a relatively good harvest of the crop.

Reports also revealed that as a last resort to save the crop several farmers spent around Rs.5,000 per acre to get water supply from those who had pumpsets.

When contacted V. Ravikulasekara Pandian, Joint Director of Agriculture (in-charge) and S.M.S. Natarajan, Agricultural Officer, said that the yield record had revealed that 8,500 acres in Ilayankudi and Manamadurai blocks were recorded zero to below normal yield.

Erratic and scattered rainfall was stated as the main reason for the crop loss. Though the district had received its credit from the Vaigai, it could not get the second release due to poor storage.

Mr. Archunan demanded that the government should announce Rs.25,000 per acre as compensation for the crop loss faced by the farmers.

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