TIRUCHY: Having suffered a severe blow due to drought in the recent Samba harvest, farmers revealed that they had to skip Kuruvai paddy cultivation due to poor monsoon, poor storage level in the Mettur Dam, and now, depleting ground water table.
Last Samba season, the farmers had begun sowing even after a poor weather forecast, as they had expected Karnataka to release water at the stipulated time. Last year, banking on groundwater, farmers in the district had indulged in short-term paddy cultivation below the potential acreage. But this year, they are not willing to take any risk, resulting in further downfall in Kuruvai acreage.
Even as the potential Kuruvai cultivation acreage of the district stands at 14,700 acres, last year, short-term paddy cultivation was undertaken in 12,202 acres.
With last year’s Kuruvai and Samba (long-term) paddy cultivation yielding poor due to improper irrigation, farmers said that they would prefer their lands barren rather than attempting to cultivate paddy.
“Even potential filter points of the district in Cauvery Delta blocks such as Manachanallur and Andanallur are affected in the past few months due to depleting groundwater table. Last year, though groundwater helped us cultivate Kuruvai in possible areas, the ensuing season is most unlikely to be taken up by farmers unless an overnight like a substantial rainfall happens, Puliyur A Nagarajan, state president, the farmer’s wing of TMC said.
Last year, the chief water reservoir of delta districts, Mettur dam, had a water storage of 23 TMC while the present storage stands at six TMC, thus making farmers cautious about taking up Kuruvai.
“We cannot expect more water at Mettur Dam this year as the Karnataka reservoirs are in poor levels. Borewells are rendered useless across the district. Even Upper Anicut and villages close to the banks of the Cauvery are affected,” Mahadhanapuram Rajaram, president of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, told Express. Rajaram recorded that two out of his six borewells have been affected due to the depleting groundwater table.
Agriculture Department sources said, “Last year, we carried out Kuruvai cultivation in about 4,000 acres through special packages and back-end subsidy. The estimated acreage under the special package will be ascertained by agriculture and senior revenue officials in a week. However, Kuruvai cultivation will be taken up for sure though the situations are unfavourable now.”