TAMIL NADU

Water release boosts farming prospects

COIMBATORE, NOV 29. With a good spell of rain in the recent times and the resultant water release from the reservoirs which have reached the brim, the Agriculture Department has ensured adequate stocking of farm inputs in a bid to the enhanced irrigation prospects.

As a result of the torrential rain in the catchments of the Amaravathy reservoir, the water release had begun from the Amaravathy reservoir in all the eight old canals that serve the Udumalpet irrigation block since June 28 and water was being released into the Amaravathy main canal for irrigating punjai crops since August 15, a release said.

Similarly, because of the lashing rain and the copious inflow into the Parambikulam - Aliyar Project (PAP) reservoirs water release had begun for the second zone of the ayacut which serves the irrigation needs of 94,201 acres. Of the total entitlement of 135 days the farmers would get water for 85 days in the first phase which was being released since August 20. As on date the second zone ayacut has already got water for 69 days. Similarly, to irrigate 22,116 acres coming under the Aliyar new ayacut served by Pollachi, Vettaikaranpudur, Sethumadai, Aliyar canals, water release had begun since September 16 and would go on for a total duration of 85 days.

Dry spell

So far 3,692 hectares of land had been brought under paddy cultivation, 90,815 hectares under pulses, 20,350 hectares under cereals, 9,140 hectares under cotton and 4,739 hectares had been brought under sugarcane. Owing to the prolonged dry spell and the resultant depletion of ground water and lack of irrigation prospects, the area under paddy and sugarcane had come down drastically. Now with the revival of water resources, both under irrigation ayacuts and ground water-fed areas, efforts were underway to increase the area under cultivation.

During the ensuing rabi season, 1,500 more hectares would be brought paddy, 12,000 hectares under pulses, another 12,000 hectares under cereals, 3,000 hectares under oil seeds, 500 hectares under cotton, 1,000 hectares under sugarcane. To meet the demand, inputs i.e., fertilizers, seeds and pesticides have been adequately stocked in the Agriculture Department's sub-centres and extension centres.

Release of funds

To help the farmers install irrigational aids like sprinklers and drip irrigation systems, the department is planning to release funds both from the State and Central Government schemes to a tune of Rs 195.43 lakhs and Rs 10 crores. The assistance would be grants-in-aid with a 25 per cent subsidy, the Collector, S. Kosalaraman said.

Under the Central sub-schemes, farmers would be imparted training and expertise by taking them on field visits. For a farmer on a field visit within the State Rs 1,000 would be extended and for farmers visiting fields in other States Rs 2,500 would be given. Under the Western Ghats Development Programme, 100 farmers would be given one-day training in the catchment areas of Western Ghats, he said.

Similarly, Rs 33.79 lakhs had been earmarked for taking up soil conservation and enrichment programmes in Alandurai area under the Western Ghats Development Programme, the officials said. Extension centres would work full swing in conducting farmers education and awareness programmes to enhance the yield during the ensuing rabi season, the officials said.

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