State has `not got' its water share from T.N.

PALAKKAD AUG. 10. Tamil Nadu's refusal to release Kerala's share of water from the inter-State Parambikulam-Aliyar Project (PAP) for the Chitturpuzha scheme since May is likely to destroy 25,000 acres of standing paddy crop in Chittur taluk. Farmers' organisations in the area have threatened to launch a mass agitation next week if the Kerala Government failed to get its water share.

According to official records, in the water year that ended in June, Tamil Nadu had released only 6.25 tmc water as against the Kerala share of 7.25 tmc. The balance, one tmc from Aliyar, did not reach the State at all, delaying the first crop by two months. Moreover, Tamil Nadu has not yet started releasing Kerala's share of PAP water for the new water year. Another 4 tmc water from Tamil Nadu Sholayar to Kerala Sholayar due last year also did not reach here, affecting the Kerala State Electricity Board's power generation.

Though several SOS had been sent by the Kerala Government to Tamil Nadu since May, the latter refused to oblige on the plea that there was shortage of water in the PAP.

The superintending engineer of the Parambikulam-Aliyar Basin, Tamil Nadu, on August 1 wrote to the executive engineer, Chittupurzha, that ``the storage available in PAP is not encouraging and inflow is not appreciable due to poor rainfall in the catchment areas.

It is not enough to cope with the irrigation requirements of the Chitturpuzha ayacut area for one crop. So Tamil Nadu is unable to release water from Aliyar as per your demand.

If water is released as demanded by you, the available storage would be exhausted halfway and we have to face crop loss.''

But officials of the Kerala Water Resources Department and the Joint Water Regulation Board aver that Tamil Nadu's claim is contrary to facts.

The total water available in the PAP as on July 30 last was 13.36 tmc as against the previous year's 11.90 tmc.

The water available in the Parambikulam group of reservoirs was 7.28 tmc, of this 4.38 tmc was dead storage and the rest 2.90 tmc could have been released to Kerala, they say.

The president of the Deseeya Karshaka Samajam, Polpully Vasudevan, says that Tamil Nadu is ``deliberately withholding water to ruin the Chittur farmers for demanding their due share from the PAP''.