Farmers in Cuddalore district on Friday vented their ire against the PWD officials of Tiruchy district holding them responsible for not opening the Grand Anaicut (Kallanai) during the prescribed time that led to crop loss.
At a grievance redressal meeting at Cuddalore, the farmers turned up with withered paddy and other crops in hand in a bid to display the poor state of samba cultivation.
They said, “Tail-end delta areas in Cuddalore district had been deprived of its share of Cauvery water because the PWD officers of Tiruchy district did not open the Grand Anaicut (Kallanai) between December 7 and 15. Had it been opened, paddy crops on 20,000 acres could have been saved.” Cuddalore Collector Kirlosh Kumar presided over the meeting.
Tamil Nadu farmers’ association district president Madhavan said, “Cuddalore district should be announced drought-hit. The central and state governments should give `25,000 per acre as compensation for the affected farmers.”
Cuddalore district farmer association general secretary Ravindhiran said, “Between December 7 and 15 Kallanai received 8,500 cusecs water from Mettur dam every day. Cuddalore district was supposed to get 10 per cent of water from what Kallanai received from Mettur, roughly working out to 850 cusecs. Tiruchy PWD officers did not release water from Kallanai. As a result, crops on 20,000 acres of lands at Chidambaram and Kattumannarkoil delta areas withered completely.”
He alleged that Cuddalore district’s share of water had been diverted to Thanjavur and Nagapattinam districts during those eight days.
A PWD official present there admitted to the charges and clarified: “Tiruchy PWD officers have now been releasing more water to us in order to compensate for the non-release of water.”
Ravindhiran said further, “Now there is no use of this as 30 per cent of paddy crops in tail-end delta areas have already been spoiled. Hereafter, PWD officers should not show partiality.”
Farmers from Srimushnam area said, “Around 35 villages in Srimushnam area have been excluded from Cauvery delta region recently. Because of this, we cannot avail of certain benefits such as electricity and diesel grant. Hence, these villages should be announced as delta area.”