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One last cry for water to save Kuruvai

Only 10 per cent of kuruvai has been harvested so far. The remaining 90 per cent, in flowering stage, will be ready for harvest by October end. Till then, to save the crops from withering, Delta farmers require adequate flow of water

One last cry for water to save Kuruvai

Paddy in ‘milk stage’ in Thanjavur. Fields at this stage should be filled with 2 cm water

TIRUCHY: The frustrated Delta farmers have been making a last call to the government to initiate steps to get them water to rescue the standing kuruvai at least for four weeks so that they could realise harvest to a certain extend as more than 90 per cent of cultivation are in the post flowering stage.

Despite the Kuruvai target fixed at 3.25 lakh acre for the districts like Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, Tiruvarur and Mayiladuthurai, the on-time water release from Mettur on its customary date has led the farmers to cultivate beyond the estimate. This has resulted in cultivation of the crop increased to area of 5.25 lakh acre. As more than 60 per cent of cultivation is dependent on river cultivation, the farmers are still expecting adequate water for fulfilling their cultivation.

Around 10 per cent of kuruvai has been harvested, 90 per cent of the crops are in the flowering stage which is expected to be ready for harvest by the end of October. Hence the farmers need water at least for a month.

However, the Mettur storage on Sunday was just 10.83 TMC which is inadequate for irrigation for the upcoming weeks.

Water requirement data

With present storage of water, the farmer can manage just for 10 days and so the fate of kuruvai has become a question. They have come out with an appeal to the government to save the standing crop as water is essential during milk stage of paddy. “During the milk stage, the paddy field should have at least two centimetres of water level otherwise, the crop would wither gradually. Available water, presently, can be utilised just for 10 days and then, the land may turn parched. Nothing can be done thereafter,” said Ammayagaram AKR Ravichandar, President, Cauvery Delta Farmers Association.

He said that the water level in Mettur was comparatively less this year from the initial stages, the water release for the delta irrigation was minimised. “We have not received adequate water from the beginning and so the turn system of irrigation was followed from the month of July. However, the seasonal rains had helped us and so we could grow the crop up to the milking stage and now the government should take responsibility and get us the due water,” he said.

While the farmers have spent between Rs 25,000 and Rs 35,000 per acre for kuruvai, they are sitting with fingers crossed thinking about fate of kuruvai. They said that the Karnataka government which owed 101.08 TMC water in the month of June, had released just 37.88 TMC water which is just 36 per cent of actual release.

“At this juncture, despite the apex court ruling, the Karnataka government refused to obey the order. Now, the Tamil Nadu government should seriously get involved and get us the due water share otherwise, the entire kuruvai cultivation would fail and thus the farmers would face severe loss,” Ravichandar said.

He cautioned that the crop would dry up in reverse direction from the tail end districts like Nagapattinam to Mayiladuthurai, Tiruvarur and Thanjavur within 15 days. Before it happens, the State government should initiate proper steps, he added.

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