Worse drought, owing to failed monsoons

Published - December 02, 2016 09:57 pm IST

MADURAI: The last time Madurai district farmers experienced drought was in 1989, but this time (2016), it appeared worse that drinking water for the ensuing summer (2017) may be a big question mark.

Agriculture department officials and farmers who had an interaction here to discuss the crop insurance said that in 1989, after the south-west monsoon failed, there was very little rain during the north-east monsoon. Thus, there was relief for farmers, that they escaped from debt trap.

However, in this current season, with the failure of both the south-west and north-east monsoons, the farmers in the district headed for a crisis, no doubt, said Arulprakasam, a progressive farmer from Melur.

The one-day rain on December 1 was of no use to the ryots as it would not help in getting any substantial quantum. Maybe, if the predictions are going to be right and if there are rains in the coming days, we can take a call then. The district was set to touch a deficit rainfall of minus 45 per cent by the end of this calendar year as already till last month it stood at minus 36 per cent, he added.

Joint Director (Agriculture) S. Kanagaraj said that the farmers had already been advised to go for crop insurance. The district, which had 52,000 hectares of paddy cultivated, may not be harvested due to lack of water availability and absence of rainfall.

“If we can save some 10000 ha and do harvest, it would be a great achievement,” he summed up.

All the ayacut areas, including Vadipatti, Alanganallur, Madurai East and others, faced severe drought. Only those farmers who had own resources and raised crops in small areas would be able to complete the process.

With the storage level in Vaigai dam revolving around 20 ft and 23 ft (maximum 71 ft), not much may be possible for even drinking water needs of Madurai city, a PWD engineer said. Thus, water for irrigation was ruled out, he added.

The present water from Vaigai dam may cater to about a fortnight and the district administration had already started identifying water resources and the needs. The Collector K. Veera Raghava Rao said that all officials, including those in the Corporation of Madurai, had been working on to face the challenge. He appealed to the residents to use available water judiciously.

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