Early release of water: Delta farmers adopt wait and watch approach

Welcoming the release of water for irrigation from Stanley Reservoir on Tuesday, farmers of the delta region have urged the State government to maintain a minimum water release till the scheduled date of opening of Mettur Dam.

They point out that the water flow to the reservoir has dwindled to around 10,000 cusecs from about 25,000-30,000 cusecs when the decision to lift the sluice gates of the dam was taken by the State government a few days ago.

Meanwhile, tilling of lands in rain-fed areas and raising of nurseries in other parts of the delta is yet to pick up, presumably due to the special desilting project works being implemented in the region below the Grand Anicut.

Though the official machinery claims that early release of water for irrigation would result in an increased area of cultivation of ‘kuruvai’ crop this season, farmers, particularly in tail-end areas, prefer to wait since they have to rely mainly on surface water for irrigation to see through the season, sources say.

Moreover, the absence of firm assurance or announcement of advancement of crop loan disbursement at least through cooperative institutions seems to have held back most farmers from venturing into ‘kuruvai’ cultivation to a more significant extent of land.

The data pertaining to ‘kuruvai’ cultivation area taken up so far in one of the delta districts, as released by the officials, reflects the mood of farmers. While 36,000 hectares is the normal ‘kuruvai’ coverage area in that district, so far only 25% per cent of the normal area has been brought under ‘kuruvai’ cultivation though the officials claim that the total area would double up in view of early release of water for irrigation.

Meanwhile, a progressive farmer, G. Srinivasan of Ganapathi Agraharam in Thanjavur district. has suggested that the water release from Mettur be maintained at 1,000 or 2,000 cusecs in view of the ongoing SDP works and cultivation of vegetables and summer crops such as black gram and cotton taken up by farmers on a larger area this year.

Since the cash crops are in the harvest stage, it would be apt to maintain minimum water release from Mettur Dam until the regular ‘kuruvai’ cultivation exercise picks up in the delta.

He adds that it would also help complete the SDP works on time before the full-fledged release of water for irrigation.

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Printable version | May 24, 2022 9:55:21 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/maintain-a-minimum-water-release-from-mettur-delta-farmers/article65456649.ece