With the water level in Mettur reservoir in a precarious state of hardly 50 feet, farmers in the delta districts are a worried lot as they are clueless about taking up kuruvai cultivation.
They have urged the state government to exert pressure on the Cauvery Management Board (CMB) to convene a meeting to discuss the current situation of reservoirs. This is especially relevant since June 12 is the customary date for releasing water from Mettur.
The farmers point out that if the CMB comes out with a status report of water storage in all the reservoirs in the three riparian states, delta farmers could decide on their future course of action. Otherwise, they would be forced to incur losses due to crop damage for want of water, the farmers opined. Though the notification constituting the CMB says its technical committee should meet once in 10 days in June and October when the southwest and northeast monsoons set in, the last time the committee met was on December 15, 2018, according to functionaries of farmers’ associations. Irrespective of the monsoon, the authority should meet periodically, discuss the situation and release the status report of all the concerned reservoirs, they said. “Since June 12 is nearing, it is high time that the authorities got ready to release water from Karnataka, “the general secretary of Tamil Nadu Cauvery Delta Farmers’ Welfare Association, Mannargudi S Ranganathan, said.
The president of Cauvery Delta Farmers Association, Cauvery S Dhanapalan, said that according to the Supreme Court order, Karnataka should have released 2.5 tmc of water per month between January and May. However, that did not happen and no meeting was convened by the authorities. All because of the absence of a dedicated chairman for the board, he said. “This apart, the PWD authorities should have utilized the period to desilt all the waterways, lakes and tanks in the state. The total length of the entire waterways in Tamil Nadu is 46,000 kilometres. At least half of this should have been cleaned by this time had the government ordered to start the process in March.
The PWD authorities should also carry out masonry works for repairing and maintaining irrigational structures.”, he added. “All the reservoirs in Karnataka have sufficient storage of water. This is the time for the board to convene a meeting and pressurize our neighbouring state to release water at least to meet the drinking water requirements in the delta region”, said the state organizer of the farmers’ wing of Tamil Manila Congress, Puliyur A Nagarajan.