Farmers of the district should take advantage of the special package announced by the government and reap a good samba harvest this year overcoming the water crisis, said R.Vaithilingam, Minister for Housing and Urban Development, here on Sunday.
At a seminar organised by the agriculture department to create awareness among farmers of the samba package , the Minister said that the package aimed at promoting direct sowing, community nurseries, and System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method. Karnataka should have released 90 tmcft of water during June, July, and August as per the interim award of the Cauvery River Water Disputes Tribunal.
At least 45 tmcft of water should have been released by Karnataka during years of distress, but instead, it had released only nine tmcft of water. Chief Minister J.Jayalalithaa had written two letters to the Prime Minister demanding convening of Cauvery River Authority (CRA) meeting .
Now, an affidavit asking the apex court to direct Karnataka to release two tmcft of water every day till the opening of Mettur dam on September 17 has been filed by the Tamil Nadu government.
He pointed out that three-phase power was provided for 12 hours for agriculture pump sets during kuruvai season. Because of this, kuruvai has been raised in 1,50,000 acres in the Cauvery delta districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam.
Now power connections would be given to pump sets that are 100 metres away from major canals and 50 metres away from minor canals. Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation had been asked to give no objection certificates to these pump sets.
Water would be released from Mettur dam on September 17 for samba.
It would take 15 days for the water to reach tail-end areas. Farmers have been asked to raise community nurseries so that they could be ready to transplant seedlings once water reached.
Collector K.Baskaran said kkuruvai had been reduced to 21,500 hectares this year in Thanjavur district against the usual 45,000 hectares and plans are afoot to make up for that shortfall during the samba season.
Crisis is not new to the farmers of Thanjavur . They faced drought in 2003, tsunami in 2004, and in 2005 they faced unprecedented floods with Kollidam carrying nearly four lakh cusecs of water. So, this year too, they could reap a good samba harvest if they adopted technology. SRI method is to be followed in 84 villages and plans are on to raise community nurseries on 10,000 hectares.
Clearing of silt will be done in A, B, and C channels under National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, he added.
MLAs M.Rangasamy (Thanjavur), M.Rathnasamy (Thiruvaiyaru), Durai Kannu (Papanasam), K.Thangamuthu former MLA and State farmers wing secretary of AIADMK, S.Suresh Kumar, District Revenue Officer and M.Z.Mohammed Yahiya, Joint Director of Agriculture, spoke.
Agriculture experts gave lectures on direct sowing, varieties to be selected for samba, community nurseries, subsidy schemes of agriculture engineering department, water management, cooperative loans, and loans provided by nationalised banks.