An Erode-based farmer, who received the Chief Minister’s special award for accomplishing the highest yield in the State, made a strong case against converting traditional irrigation canals into concrete structures.
“Lining of the canals will prevent groundwater from getting replenished. Concrete bunds also block seepage of water into fields. Had seepage of water been allowed, one could achieve higher yield,” said N. Parameswaran, who received the award from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in the presence of Governor K. Rosaiah on the Marina here as part of the Republic Day celebration.
The award included Rs. 5 lakh in cash and a medal worth Rs. 3,500.
Mr. Parameswaran, from Nasiyanur in Erode district, produced 6,119 kg of paddy per acre by adopting the system of rice intensification cultivation method (SRI). He used BPT-5204 paddy seeds, known as ‘samba masuri,’ from the Erode block agricultural extension centre.
“There was no adequate rain in 2012-2013 and both Cauvery and its tributary Bhavani dried up. I used the seepage of the drinking water released from the Lower Bhavani three times and water from wells,” he said, while acknowledging the help rendered by his mother N. Rukmani and wife P. Umadevi.
He planted 14 day-old paddy and maintained a gap of 23 cm between each plant. Weeding was done four times and the harvest was made after 130 days. He sold the yield to the Agriculture department for storage of seeds.
Mr. Parameswaran said the price fixed for paddy was not adequate as the cost of input and labour had increased.
The Chief Minister also presented Anna medal for Gallantry to six persons, Gandhi Adigal Police medal to policemen who had done outstanding work to curtail illicit liquor and Kottai Ameer Communal Harmony award to A.R. Basheer Ahamed from Coimbatore.
Earlier, the Governor hoisted the National Flag and took the salute of the three armed forces and other security agencies.
The celebrations were marked by the presentation of traditional cultural programmes of school and college students. Floats displaying achievements of various government departments were part of the customary procession taken out on the occasion.
Awards to eight others Ms. Jayalalithaa distributed awards to eight persons who have made great contributions to the respective fields. She presented the Periyar Award to Sulochana Sampath; Anna award – Panruti S. Ramachandran; Thiru-Vi-Ka award - writer Ashokamitran; Ambedkar award - Bishop M. Prakash; Kamaraj award - Ayyaru Vandaiyar; Bharathiyar award - K. Gnanasambandan; Bharathidasan award - Radha Chellappan and K.A.P. Viswanatham Award - V. Jayadevan. Each award carried Rs 1 lakh cash, a gold medal and a citation.
Mr. Ashokamitran said he was happy to receive the award named after Thiru-Vi-Ka who, he said, was one of the pioneers of the modern Tamil prose.