Despite poor Cauvery water realisation, delta farmers exceed normal coverage by three lakh acres

Published - May 03, 2024 11:04 pm IST - CHENNAI 

Despite Tamil Nadu’s poor realisation of Cauvery water during the current water year, the delta region has exceeded the normal coverage during the Samba/Thaladi cultivation season by three lakh acres.

However, the achievement fell short of the target by about 1.25 lakh acres. At the end of April, the cumulative realisation of Cauvery water was around 78.8 tmc ft.

Against the normal coverage of 8.9 lakh acres (based on an average of five years), the delta region achieved about 11.93 lakh acres. The harvested area comprised around 11.67 lakh acres. The area under direct sowing accounts for about 45.7%, or 3.32 lakh acres, in the Samba season alone. (This figure is included in the coverage for the season).

The composite Thanjavur district — comprising Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam, Thiruvarur, and Thanjavur districts — accounts for the lion’s share of the coverage or the area harvested. The details of coverage and area harvested pertained to the financial year 2023-24.

K. Ramasamy, former Vice-Chancellor of the Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, attributes “the use of groundwater in a huge way” to the coverage and calls the trend “worrying”.

Given the availability of paddy varieties lasting between 120 days and 140 days, several sections of farmers do not seem to be following any cultivation season schedule. The tendency to go in for paddy all through the year should be avoided, he says.

Pointing out that the groundwater table in the “old Thanjavur region” lies in the same plateau, he calls for the launch of a programme to rejuvenate the groundwater sources, which are getting depleted “quite rapidly”.

He agrees with the idea of suspending free power supply to the farmers during the summer.

P.R. Pandian, president of the Coordination Committee of All Farmers Associations of Tamil Nadu, denies the contention that the coverage was due to the use of free power and groundwater.

“In fact, farmers dependent upon free power and groundwater cultivated only two-and-a-half lakh acres. The others followed a far more efficient way of water management this time, and this is why we have got this result,” he claims. The release of three tmc ft from the Mettur dam in February came in handy for the crop to be harvested, he adds.

He also suggests that the farmers take up the task of raising paddy from this month.

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