TIRUCHY: Cliched it may sound, but it indeed was a Black Friday for farm workers as the Supreme Court order reducing Tamil Nadu’s share of Cauvery will have a cascading effect and effectively shrink cultivation area. Already rendered jobless by the drought, reduction in the cultivation area will only add to their woes.
Marginal farmers and farm workers in tail-end delta regions, are worried that the SC verdict would lead to shrinking of cultivable land in Tamil Nadu (and expand in Karnataka), which would force many away from agriculture.
V Kannan Vice-president Cauvery Delta Farm Producers Welfare Association, said “Karnataka had about 6 lakh acres of agricultural lands in 1970, according to the Cauvery Fact Finding Committee. Over the period, Karnataka increased the area and it now stands at almost 23 lakh acres. On the other hand, the final award of the Cauvery Water Dispute Tribunal limited cultivation in Tamil Nadu to the 23 lakh acres, which once stood at 28 lakh acres. Friday’s reduction in the quantum of water will lead to further decrease this area,” he said.
Aylai Sivasuriyan, district secretary of Tamil Nadu Farmers Association, said “Tamil Nadu once carried out three seasons of crop cultivation. It has reduced to only one season - Samba. Now, the decrease in our water share has questioned the plight of Samba also.” This being the sole sore point, farmers otherwise pointed to some observations on the SC verdict which they consider to be in Tamil Nadu’s favour.
Kannan said, “Supreme Court has categorically said there will not be anymore appeals in the case. Karnataka has always been evasive in the Cauvery issue by citing legal proceedings. Now there is finality and Karnataka has to obey the order.”
The other three positives of the verdict are: Karnataka cannot claim exclusive rights over the river, no more building of new dams by Karnataka in Cauvery and the order to set up Cauvery Management Board.
Tamil Nadu’s lifeline
Known as the Ganga of the South, the Cauvery rises at Thalakaveri of the Western Ghats in the Coorg district of Karnataka, at an elevation of 1341m. After meeting the Harangi, Hemavathy and Lakshmana Theertha, the main river continues to flow eastward
In Tamil Nadu, the river Cauvery continues to flow eastwards up to Hogenakkal Falls and takes a southerly course to enter the Mettur reservoir
Just below Tiruchy, the Cauvery splits into two branches. The Northern branch is Kollidam while the Southern branch is known as Cauvery itself
The Cauvery and Vennar channels are utilised for irrigation in Delta. Some branches reach sea, while others are lost in the deltaic plains
The Cauvery branch descends into the Bay at Pompuhar, 13 km North of Tharangambadi as an insignificant stream