TIRUCHI: Farmers representatives of the district have urged the Public Works Department to ensure the release of adequate quantum of water in the irrigation canals to meet the requirements of standing cash crops, primarily banana and sugarcane.
Raising the issue at the Farmers Grievances Day meeting here on Thursday, Ayilai Sivasuriyan, district secretary, Tamil Nadu Vivasayigal Sangam, water for irrigation was normally supplied in various irrigation canals, between Mettur Reservoir and Kallanai, during the Mettur closure period every year. Nearly 2.5 lakh acres were being served by these canals and farmers had raised banana and sugarcane on thousands of acres pinning their hopes on getting water in the irrigation canals, he said and urged the PWD to release adequate quantum of water released from Mettur for the purpose.
P.Ayyakannu, president, Desiya Thennindia Nadigal Inaippu Vivasayigal Sangam, wondered why the PWD has not taken steps yet to build a ‘korambu’(a temporary sand bund to divert water) on the Cauvery river to release water in the North Bank canal. “Water has been released in the irrigation canals even when the storage level at the Mettur Dam was just 30 feet. Now the water level in the dam stands at nearly 68 feet. We wonder why the PWD has not taken any steps to release water in the irrigation canals,”he said.
He and Koundampatti R.Subramanian of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association alleged that the meagre quantum of water from the Mettur was being pumped out by upstream farmers in Namakkal using high power motor pumps. Though this was prohibited, the practice continues and urged officials to take steps to disconnect power supply to the violators.
Puliyur A.Nagarajan, president, Farmers Wing of the Tamil Maanila Congress, said the quantum of water released now from Mettur was not adequate and urged the PWD to step up the discharge to 3,000 cusecs. Banana crop, which is ready for harvest, was withering for want of water for irrigation, he said. A PWD official said that as of now priority was being given to meet the drinking water requirements and steps would be taken in due course to release water in the irrigation canals.
N.Veerasekaran of the Ayyan Vaical Pasanatharar Sangam opposed the proposed move to build a check dam across the Ayyan Vaical claiming that it would affect the riparian rights of thousands of farmers. He insisted that the PWD elicit the opinion of the stakeholders before constructing the check dam.
A section of farmers also called upon Collector S.Sivarasu to ensure that all eligible farmers were included in the list of beneficiaries under the income support scheme announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently. There were discrepancies in the norms adopted by Revenue officials in the field. Mr.Sivarasu said that he has already reviewed and steps have been taken to include the names of omitted persons. He clarified that all farmers with less than five acres of land, irrespective of whether it was wet or dry land, are eligible to get the assistance of ₹6,000 a year under the scheme. Mr.Subramanian demanded that tenant farmers also be included in the list of beneficiaries.
A section of farmers also urged the district administration to take steps for sanction of compensation farmers whose maize crops were damaged by the Fall Armyworm, an invasive pest. R.Raja Chidambaram, State secretary, Tamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said the pest has caused extensive damage and it was imperative that the farmers were compensated adequately. It was not enough for the Agriculture Department to say that assistance have been given to control the pest now as the maize crop has already been destroyed, he contended.