Farmers bank on groundwater as Mettur storage is poor
NAGAPATTINAM: The Agriculture department has proposed to raise short-term kuruvai paddy crop in the normal area of 35,000 hectares in the Cauvery delta region of Nagapattinam district this year also on the hope of getting adequate quantity of water from the Mettur Reservoir at least by this month end.
A senior official of the public works department (irrigation) here told The Hindu on Friday that the opening of the Mettur Reservoir for delta irrigation on the scheduled date of June 12 this year was ruled out this year as the storage in the dam was poor _ only 58 feet against the full tank level of 120 feet.
However, farmers in the Mayiladuturai belt in the Cauvery command area in the district had raised kuruvai paddy nurseries with the help of pumpsets taking advantage of the groundwater potential in Kuttalam, Mayiladuturai, Sirkazhi and Sembanarkoil blocks and transplanted the crop in about 14,000 hectares out of the 20,000 hectares to be covered in the region.
The irrigation of the crop will be supplemented by the surface water after release of water from the reservoir.
An official of the Agriculture department said that the kuruvai crop raised in Mayiladuturai belt would not be affected as it would come up for harvest much ahead of the commencement of the northeast monsoon rains.
Out of the normal kuruvai paddy cultivation area of 35,000 hectares, about 20,000 hectares would be covered in the command area in Mayiladuturai belt. The remaining 15,000 hectares coming under the Vennar river command areas of Nagapattinam, Kilvelur and Vedaranyam taluks depend only on river irrigation as there was no groundwater potential in the region. As such, farmers in the region, are awaiting release of Mettur water for raising the crop.
The Agriculture department has appealed to the farmers to raise kuruvai crop under the new system of rice intensification (SRI) method of cultivation to achieve 30 per cent more yield than the conventional transplantation system and save about 25 per cent expenses in the cost of cultivation.
Arupathy P.Kalyanam, general secretary of Federation of Farmers’ Associations of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam districts, told The Hindu on Friday, that the Government should take steps to increase the paddy procurement price at Rs.1,500 per quintal considering the cost of cultivation. He said the agricultural workers had started demanding Rs.150-200 as wages per day.
He appealed to the Collector to ensure adequate quantity of certified paddy seeds, fertilizers and timely farm loans by the primary agricultural co-operative banks and nationalised banks to meet the requirement of delta farmers.
Meanwhile, the district administration had informed the farmers that it had distributed about 425 tonnes of kuruvai paddy seeds in the district and keeping adequate quantity of paddy seeds in all the extension centres of the Agriculture department and required fertilizers like di-ammonium phosphate (DAP), potash, urea, etc., in the PACBs to meet the requirement of the farmers.