THANJAVUR: Even though water from Mettur dam was released on May 24, well ahead of the scheduled date of June 12, Kuruvai cultivation is yet to pick up pace in Thanjavur.
This is due to various reasons, including the delayed release of Cauvery water into the Grand Anaicut Canal (Pudhu Aaru), owing to the construction work of a bridge across the river. While water was released from Kallanai into Cauvery, Vennaru and Kollidam river on May 27, it was released from Kallanai into the river only on June 5.
According to sources, the early release of water from Mettur was expected to increase paddy coverage to 70,000 hectares in the district, against the usual 44,000 hectares. However, Kuruvai has been cultivated only on 28,000 hectares in the district so far, an agriculture department official told The New Indian Express.
The official added that it was taken up by farmers who used groundwater for irrigation using energised pumpsets. Kannan, a farmer from Budalur, said, "Though water was released into GA canal on June 5, the the pace was very slow. Hence, the water is yet to flow into the branch canals. Only when the water reaches the field canals will the farmers be able to raise nurseries for transplantation."
An official said, "The Water Resources Department officials released water only on Tuesday from the GA canal into the main canal which irrigates large swathes of land in Alakkudi, Sakkarasamantham and nearby areas. So, Kuruvai cultivation has been sluggish. The work is expected to pick up pace soon."
According to sources, around 8,000 cusecs have been released from Mettur to Kallanai. Only recently did the water flow increase to 12,000 cusecs from Mettur, sources said. On Monday, the release from Mettur to Kallanai was at 15,000 cusecs.
Though the capacity of Cauvery and Vennaru river is 10,000 cusecs each, only around 4,000 cusecs have been released from Kallanai. Similarly, only 1,250 cusecs is released into GA canal from Kallanai, though its capacity is 4,000 cusecs. Farmers have been demanding an increase in water release from Kallanai.
Tamil Nadu Cauvery Farmers Protection Association secretary S Vimalnathan said "Due to less quantity of water being released into the rivers, those who solely depend on the canals have not been able to take up cultivation properly. Also, the water has been flowing irregularly through the canals - a result of rampant sand mining. More water can flow into canals only if release from Mettur dam is increased to 22,000 cusecs."