Veeranam tank goes dry

BLEAK SIGHT: The Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district, which is totally dry.

BLEAK SIGHT: The Veeranam tank in Cuddalore district, which is totally dry.   | Photo Credit: — Photo: C. Venkatachalapathy

Special Correspondent

Deficit rainfall has affected swarnavari, kuruvai crops in Cuddalore district

CUDDALORE: Deficit rainfall and poor or nil storage in tanks have affected swarnavari and kuruvai crops in Cuddalore district.

Only those who have installed lift irrigation facility have managed to raise crops with lower than normal yields, sources said. The Veeranam tank, with an ayacut area of 48,000 acres, has gone dry. The tank went dry earlier in 2002.

The delay in release of water from the Mettur dam and truant monsoon have created a drought-like situation.

According to sources, it takes about 10 days for water from the Mettur dam to reach the Kallanai. Ten per cent of the water realised at the Kallanai would be let into the Keelanai, from where the Vadavar would carry water to the Veeranam tank.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi had announced that Mettur water would be released on August 7. Therefore, rejuvenation of the Veeranam tank would be possible only by August-end, the sources said.

Tapping of 75 million litres a day of water from the tank at the Boothangudi point for Chennai stopped on July 1. Official sources told The Hindu that with absolutely no inflow, the tank, with a maximum storage of 47.5 feet, had gone dry.

At present, the water level in the Wallajah tank stood at 4.5 feet against the full height of 5.5 feet and the level at Perumal eri stood at 0.5 ft against 6.5 ft. The sources said that for want of water supply, the paddy farmers could not meet the target set. Swarnavari crop could be raised only on 6,410 ha against a target of 10,000 ha and kuruvai pady on 3,600 ha against a target of 8,000 ha.

According to K. Vijayakumar, a progressive farmer, only those with lift irrigation facility could raise 10 per cent of the normal crop size. The delayed water release from the Stanley Reservoir would have cascading effect even beyond the kuruvai and samba seasons.

After the samba season, the farmers usually go for black gram cultivation. But, the delayed water release would extend the samba season, thus making it impossible to raise black gram.

I. Elangeeran of the Naraikkal-Vettuvaikkal Paasana Vivasayigal Sangham said that the lean period was the ideal time for desilting or deepening the Veeranam tank. However, even Rs. 2 crore allotted for desilting various canals such as the South Rajan vaikkal and the North Rajan vaikkal had not been utilised.

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