Cauvery panel tells Supreme Court of drought, debt

The parched Cauvery basin has become a fertile reason for farmers' suicides and mass migrations in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, a Supreme Court-appointed High Level Technical Team told the court on Monday.

In a report, the team, led by Central Water Commission Chairperson G.S. Jha, said the “ground realities” of the Cauvery delta region include drought, rising unemployment, borewells dug up to 1000 feet and withering of acres of crops in both States.”

On October 4, a Bench led by Justice Dipak Misra, set up the team to conduct a field inspection. The hearing is scheduled for Tuesday.

The expert team found that agriculture labour were migrating from the Delta districts of Tamil Nadu and many of them have been pushed to committing suicide due to financial burden. The farmers in Tamil Nadu have sought the constitution of a Cauvery management board. Farmers are suffering for drinking water and irrigation water, as the available ground water is not suitable, the report said.

“In the last 20 years, we are cultivating only two-third of the area. But this year the situation is further poor as there is no water to raise crops even in one-third area. Even the ground water level has gone down to 250 feet. In the current year, no water is released from the Mettur dam as Karnataka is blocking the water due to Tamil Nadu. Paddy crops raised by direct seeding method are withering due to lack of seasonal rains. No groundwater is available. The very existence of farmers and agricultural labourers is at stake,” the team quoted Tamil Nadu farmers as saying.

Growing suicides

In Karntaka, the team found that a large number of suicides were reported from Mandya district.

Besides, the Karnataka government had declared 42 out of 48 talukas under the Cauvery basin as drought-affected based on Central government guidelines.

The report said the total water requirement of Karnataka up to the end of May 2017, including irrigation water up to December 2016, drinking water up to May, 2017and evaporation loss of the order of 6.0 TMC, is 65.48 TMC. It said the expected availability up to the end of May, 2017 is 89.16 TMC.

The total water requirement of Tamil Nadu is 163.0 TMC,m against the expected availability of 143.18 TMC up to the end of May, 2017, the team reported.

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Printable version | Oct 24, 2021 10:21:43 PM |

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