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Water released from Papanasam dam

P. Sudhakar
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Farmers begin preparing nurseries for ‘pisanam’ paddy cultivation though storage level in the dam is low

GUSHING out WITH HOPE:Water being released from Papanasam Dam in Tirunelveli district on Thursday.— Photo: A. Shaikmohideen
GUSHING out WITH HOPE:Water being released from Papanasam Dam in Tirunelveli district on Thursday.— Photo: A. Shaikmohideen

Even as the water level in Papanasam, Servalar and Manimuthar reservoirs is precarious with northeast monsoon having almost petered out, water was released on Thursday from Papanasam dam for ‘pisanam’ paddy cultivation with the hope that the monsoon would revive before November-end.

In the presence of District Collector R. Selvaraj, Sub-Collector, Cheranmahadevi, Rohini Ramdas and other senior officials, Minister for Labour Welfare S.T. Chellapandian released 600 cusecs of water from Papanasam dam.

Discharge of water from the dam is likely to be sustained for 137 days to nourish paddy to be cultivated on 86,107 acres in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts. If situation warrants, water will be discharged from Manimuthar dam also.

Ambasamudram MLA Esakki Subbiah, Tirunelveli Mayor Vijila Sathyananth and chairman of Tamil Nadu Housing Board R. Murugaiah Pandian also participated in the function.

Water level at Papanasam dam was 77.45 feet on Thursday morning against the total capacity of 143 feet while the relatively small Servalar dam had 89.63 feet against the maximum storage level of 156 feet.

Manimutharu dam, the biggest reservoir of the district, had 63.10 feet against the total capacity of 118 feet.

Though water has been released for ‘pisanam’ paddy cultivation, farmers, having learnt a lot of lessons with the monsoon having played truant for the past four years, are still sceptical about reaping good yield in this season too.

Their anxiety is in fact meaningful as the present storage level in the dams is really a matter of concern even as water collected so far in the irrigation tanks across the district after the onset of monsoon is also not encouraging.

Farmers in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin districts had enjoyed bumper paddy harvest in the past as the irrigation tanks brimmed with water even though discharge of water from the dam was trimmed owing to shaky storage position.

After exhausting water in the irrigation tanks for completing first half of their operations, water from the dams would bail them out towards the end of the season.

And, they had suffered unforgettable loss too whenever they dared to take the risk with the little storage in the dams while the irrigation tanks had little storage due to scanty rainfall in the plains.

Though the northeast monsoon started on a promising note this year, it has failed to sustain.

Now, almost all 2,449 irrigation tanks in the district including 921 systemized and 1,528 non-systemized tanks have water sufficient for irrigation for just 15 to 30 as the district is yet to experience good rainfall during this monsoon.

Though similar water position in the dams and tanks had taught the farmers bitter lessons in the past, the agriculturists, having left with no other option, are hesitantly gearing-up to test their fortune by preparing the nurseries and subsequent farming operations for the second crop season.

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