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Rain brings heavy Mettur inflow

CHENNAI OCT. 22. For the first time in the current irrigation year, the inflow into the Mettur reservoir has crossed 15,000 cusecs, thanks to heavy rain upstream, especially in Dharmapuri district.

This morning, it was 17,474 cusecs, the heaviest inflow since June 1. The receipt, which was around 8,500 cusecs from October 4 to 8, gradually dropped to less than 2,000 cusecs. But the inflow increased to 8,000 cusecs on Tuesday, crossed 10,000 cusecs late last night and touched 17,474 cusecs this morning.

With the meteorological office forecasting heavy precipitation in the State for the next two days, officials hope that the increased inflow will continue for the next couple of days.

As the Cauvery delta districts have been under a wet spell for the past three days, Public Works department authorities have restricted the outflow to 5,000 cusecs, down from the initial 15,000 cusecs, for samba cultivation.

According to them, the current storage of 23 tmcft, as against the dam capacity of 93.4 tmcft, cannot meet the samba requirement in the delta districts. Only with monsoon rain and by judicious utilisation of river water, including a turn system, will it be possible to save the standing crop.

Meanwhile, cultivation is in full swing, with farmers, who could not raise paddy in the kuruvai season owing to non-opening of the reservoir, now going for samba. A majority of the farmers have raised, on the advice of the Agriculture department, either medium or short-term duration crop, instead of the normal long-term crop.

In Thanjavur district, the authorities planned to cover about 1.34 lakh hectares in the samba season. So far transplantation has been completed on 9,963 hectares and direct sowing on another 1,000 hectares. While nurseries on about 4000 hectares are ready for transplantation to cover about 40,000 hectares, another 30,000 hectares will be brought under cultivation after transplantation, for which preparations are on.

Local officials have advised farmers in Orathanadu, Pattukottai and Peravurani in upland areas to go for alternative crops this time also, as it will be difficult for them to supply sufficient water for paddy.

Most of Nagapattinam district was covered under direct sowing this time, as water will not reach the tail-end even if there is a heavy discharge from the reservoir. Out of 47,000 hectares covered under the crop, about 41,000 hectares came under direct sowing and transplantation was done in the remaining area.

Thanks to the heavy rain in the district, another 20,000 hectares may be brought under cultivation through direct sowing and 28,000 hectares through transplantation.

The target for the district is 1.16 lakh hectares including an area of 13,000 hectares to offset the shortfall in the last kuruvai season, the officials say.

Tiruvarur district has already received about 95 per cent of its normal rainfall for the current month.

So far 22,500 hectares has been brought under direct cultivation, apart from 5,500 hectares through transplantation.

Nurseries have been raised on another 7,000 hectares, including 500 hectares under the thaladi (late samba) crop.

In taluks of Cuddalore, Tiruchi, Karur and Perambalur districts, which also come under the delta, normally about one lakh hectares is covered under samba. This year about 60 per cent of the area may be brought under cultivation, say the officials here.

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