CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday ordered the opening of the Mettur dam for irrigation from May 24 -- three weeks ahead of the traditional date of release of water from here.
For the first time since Independence, Mettur dam is being opened for irrigation in May. This is due to the comfortable storage level and continuous inflow into the dam. As on date, the storage level of Mettur dam stands at 115.35 feet and considering the higher inflow, the dam would reach its full capacity soon.
Official sources said before Independence, the dam was opened in May for four years from 1942-43. Also, this is the third time since Independence that the Mettur dam will be opened either on the traditional date of June 12 or ahead of the traditional date. It may be recalled that during the previous AIADMK regime, the then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa ordered opening the dam in advance on June 6, 2011.
An official release here said that due to release of water from the Mettur dam, over four lakh acres of land in the Cauvery delta districts of Trichy, Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, Nagappattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Karur, Ariyalur, Perambalur, Pudukottai and Cuddalore would get irrigation.
Also, during the current year, desilting works in delta districts have started in advance since April 23 at a cost of Rs 80 crore. While the desilting works in the rivers have been completed fully, the canals and waterways are being desilted on a war footing and these works are expected to be completed by May 31. Due to these precautionary measures, the water released from Mettur dam will reach all tail-end areas of Cauvery delta.
Besides, the opening of the Mettur dam in advance will help the farmers in taking up Kuruvai crop in more areas than the previous years and they can start the work for Samba crop in advance. Also, the release of water in advance would help prevent the Samba crops getting drowned in floods during the rainy season. Above all, since water will be flown through the lands for a longer time, the groundwater table would go up in the delta areas.
The Chief Minister has directed the government departments and District Collectors to make available all agricultural inputs and agricultural loans to farmers. He also appealed to farmers to utilise the water judiciously to increase the Kuruvai crop area so that they can record a new achievement in paddy production.