A plea to release water from the Amaravathi and Bhavani dams into river Cauvery to save the standing crops in the district was made at the farmers grievances’ day meeting here on Thursday.
The standing paddy, banana, sugarcane, etc., raised in about two lakh acres fed by the 17 channels from Mettur dam to Grand Anicut have been withering for the past 40 days for want of water. This has caused untold hardship to the farmers, Puliyur Nagarajan, state vice president of the Congress farmers’ wing said. When similar conditions prevailed in 1986, the then Chief Minister M. G. Ramachandran ordered release of water from the Amaravathi and Bhavani dams to save the standing crops. Similar initiative should be taken now too, he demanded.
He urged the state government to declare the entire Tiruchi district as drought hit, based on the report submitted by the Collector and initiate drought relief works on a war-footing. The Centre should declare entire Tamil Nadu as drought hit, he added.
N. Ganesan, joint secretary of the Tamil Nadu Milk Producers’ Welfare Association, thanked the Collector for urging the State government to declare the entire district as drought hit. However, the assistance of Rs.625 crore is not adequate. Of late, the crop raised through pumpset irrigation in the higher planes in Musiri taluk has also started withering. The district administration should take this into consideration and send a fresh proposal seeking adequate assistance.
Mr. Ganesan said that the entire Musiri taluk was considered as Cauvery delta area and uninterrupted power supply was provided for about 20 hours for the pumpsets earlier. Now, power supply is being provided only for three hours and this has badly hit the farmers, he said and demanded at least 12 hour power supply.
P. Muthamizh Selvan, Superintending Engineer, Tangedco, assured 12- hour uninterrupted power supply to all the areas designated as Cauvery delta area by the revenue authorities.
R. Subramanian of Kavundanpatti said that banana crop in a large area is the worst hit in the district and urged the district central co-operative bank to provide adequate assistance for digging borewells for saving the same. The scarcity of fodder is another major problem confronting the farmers and he demanded provision of the same at subsidised rate.
R. Raja Chidambaram of the Tamilaga Vivasayigal Sangam demanded the implementation of the modified crop insurance scheme in all the districts in the State. J. Sekar, Joint Director of Agriculture, said that the scheme is being implemented only in about half a dozen districts including Ariyalur. Based on its success it will be extended to other districts too.
Leaders of the farmers associations expressed concern over the drinking water scarcity prevailing in various parts of the district. S. Thyagarajan, District Revenue Officer, who presided over the meeting, urged the officials present to take all necessary initiative to check water scarcity and accord top priority for the supply of water. This problem should be discussed on day- to- day basis, he said.