The rivers and major irrigation canals in the district have become dry after the water release from Mettur was reduced. During last week, water released from the Grand Anaicut (GA) head was diverted to Vennar and GA canal irrigation system catering to the irrigation needs for the ongoing Samba crops in the Cauvery delta region.
Lack of rainfall in the catchment areas of Mettur and in the delta districts had made farmers worry about the future of crops.
The vennar basin which caters to more than 14,000 hectare of standing crop is facing an immediate crisis due to lack of water.
This September, the PWD and the agriculture department have implemented a turn system to utilise the water in an efficient manner among all farmers of the region.
During the first release of water from the Grand Anaicut, farmers opposed the early switch over to the turn system.
When farmers in Tiruvarur opposed the turn system in Korayar river head which is crucial for irrigating lands in the tail end of the district at a grievance meeting, PWD officials informed them that the availability of water at Mettur dam had reached an all-time low, and they were forced to share the remaining water.
Senthil, a farmer with a large area of land near Needamangalam said that he had started cultivating crops using bore-wells a decade back, and the Cauvery water crisis was not a concern for him.
However, for small farmers like Murugesan near Budhalur, the dead storage level in Mettur is a major concern.
The Vennar link canal near his village had already dried up.
Some of the farmers have started fishing in the stagnant water across all check dams and other shallow parts of the river bed in a few districts.
Farmers of the Bharathiya Kisan Sangam have planned to organise a rail blockade at the city junction soon, condemning the Centre’s inaction on the Cauvery issue.
A resolution to this effect was passed at a meeting of the Sangam’s state office-bearers’ meet held here.
The farmers’ body also decided to hold a fast in New Delhi, demanding the linking of Cauvery with the Brahmaputra, Ganges and Yamuna which empty their waters into the sea without use for irrigation.
The sangam also appealed to Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to come out with a separate budged for agriculture.
It also requested the State and Central governments to increase the procurement price of sugarcane to `4,000 per tonne.
The farmers body strongly urged the government to provide 12 hours of uninterrupted power to farmers, so that they would be able to use electric motors for well irrigation. The sangam said agriculture in the delta region had been affected due to frequent power cuts, lack of rains, hike in fertilisers and scarcity of agricultural workers.
Farmers would not be able to repay bank loans, it said, and urged the State and Central governments to waive agricultural loans without differentiating between small and big farmers. It also demanded a compensation of `20,000 per acre for farmers.
The meeting was headed by State president R Sundarrajan.