NAGAPATTINAM, TIRUVARUR & CUDDALORE: With or without rain, cultivation seems a herculean task, as reports of paddy crop being submerged are piling up in the State. By the end of the first week of showers, around 1,16,188 hectares of paddy has been reported submerged in Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Cuddalore districts.
In Nagapattinam district, Samba crops grown in one lakh hectares have been under water for the past six days.According to S Ramadoss, district secretary, Tamilaga Cauvery Vivasaayigal Sangam, as the continuous downpours have damaged almost all the cultivated crops, farmers are not in a position to save them and are looking to start afresh with kuruvai seeds, which reportedly are scarce.
Speaking to Express, Ramadoss said, “Due to the week-long continuous showers, our crops have completely submerged and are about to rot. Our local Minister has said just 20.000 acres have been inundated, but the actual figure is close to one lakh... We are planning to take up midterm kuruvai crops, which could be grown within 100 days using nurseries instead of direct sowing method. But ADP 45 and ASP 16 seeds are not available in both private and public warehouses.”Around 10,118 hectares of paddy in Tiruvarur has been submerged, according to R Kamaraj, State Food Minister.
Talking to the media after inspecting the crop inundation in Nannilam, Kudavasal and Tiruvarur Taluks on Sunday, the Minister said a total of 1,46,497 hectares have been cultivated in the district during the current samba, thalady season. Of this area, 10117.141 hectares have been inundated.
Officials of Public Works and Agriculture Departments are taking steps to drain water out, he added. Two relief camps have been set up in the at Mudikondan and Tiruthuraipoondi.
In Cuddalore, paddy crops in 6,070 hectares of farms have submerged at Kumaratchi, Kattumannarkoil, Keerappalayam and Kurinjipadi unions. The affected farmers are alleging that mismanagement on the part of the Public Works Department (PWD) engineers was the cause for the disaster. Paddy crops in majority of these inundated lands were directly sown just two weeks ago. A few more days under water, these crops would begin to spoil.
Draining water has become very arduous following the raising of several bunds. “The PWD with the help of NLCIL had desilted Sengal Odai and River Paravanar. However, they dumped all the removed silt to raise bunds for the canals. Now, rain water in the farms adjoining to these canals cannot be drained,” said Ramalingam, farmers’ leader of Kurinjipadi.According to sources, the PWD engineers have recently been trying to insert pipes into the bunds to pave way for the water to drain into the canal.
Vinayagamurthy, a farmers’ association leader, said “Only main canals such as Manavaikkal, Kansahib, Pasimuthan and Old Kollidam were desilted while the irrigation and drainage canals at villages were neglected. This has made draining of rains water difficult. Paddy crops that are raised through transplantation technique can survive under water for a few more days, a farmer said.
“But the directly sown paddy crops cannot withstand even five days under water,” he noted.Paddy crops in nearly 10,000 acres have been under water for the past three days in Kumaratchi union alone. “This happened because the PWD released Lower Anicut water into the Rajan canal just when the rains began to lash the region.