Irrigation woes delay kuruvai cultivation in Madurai district

The unseasonal rain this season combined with the low water levels in the dams have thrown farm works out of gear, with the majority of farmers in Madurai sitting idle.
Kuruvai cultivation marks the first crop season, which begins in the first week of June and goes on till September.
Kuruvai cultivation marks the first crop season, which begins in the first week of June and goes on till September.Photo | Express

MADURAI : It's been 10 days since June began, and only a few farmers have begun works on kuruvai cultivation. This is an unusual sight as kuruvai cultivation works gain pace in the first week of June, and continues till September.

The unseasonal rain this season combined with the low water levels in the dams have thrown farm works out of gear, with the majority of farmers in Madurai sitting idle.

Kuruvai cultivation marks the first crop season, which begins in the first week of June and goes on till September.But, only a handful of farmers involved in kuruvai cultivation, which has a total acreage of 9,000 hectares, have begun works due to the availability of water, while others await the release of water from the Vaigai.

"Low water levels in the dam were reported last year as well. After much delay, water was released only during the season of samba cultivation. Many farmers could not engage in kuruvai cultivation in Madurai. The situation prevails this year as well, as dam storage remains low. We hope better rainfall in the catchment area will increase the water level in the dam, and water will be released soon," said a farmer from Madurai.

Speaking to TNIE, Joint Director of Agriculture Department, P Suburaj, stated that the water levels in the Periyar Dam and Vaigai Dam stands at 114 ft and 39 ft, respectively, which are insufficient for water release. For farmers in Theni who resort to traditional irrigation, water is being released from Periyar Dam. He added that many farmers are yet to complete the summer cultivation harvest, which got delayed due to the unseasonal rainfall. In another 10 days, the summer crops are expected to reach the harvest stage. Almost all farmers have completed summer ploughing works with the showers in May, said Suburaj, adding that works will begin in the upcoming weeks based on the availability of water.

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