TN’s Karaikal paddy farmers worried as Cauvery water turns into a trickle

By Antony Fernando
With irrigation from Cauvery water in Karaikal district very limited, concerns loom large over the ongoing Kuruvai paddy cultivation and upcoming samba paddy cultivation. Farmers have demanded that Puducherry demand its fair share of water from Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Among the seven distributaries, water from the Cauvery has reached four irrigation rivers – Noolar, Thirumalairajan River, Vanjiyar and Naatar – over the past ten days. But with the discharge of only a few hundred cusecs, PWD officials say the flow is very meagre and lacking in momentum.
Farmers are upset with the present discharge in the distributary rivers and irrigation channels. “We are pumping out saline groundwater to manage the cultivation. But we are concerned about a good yield this year. We urge the state and union territory governments to ensure our respective share,” said DN Suresh, a farmer-representative from Karaikal.

“The situation is a complete contrast from last year. Hopes of a proper kuruvai yield are low, and we are concerned about starting samba cultivation on time as we need water to initiate. We want governments to release the respective share for Karaikal on respective months,” said P Rajendiran, another farmer-representative.
PWD officials have expressed that not much could be done unless there is rainfall in upstream areas. “We are yet to receive our share of water from Tamil Nadu for the month. Only the monsoon rains in the district and upstream catchment areas can provide relief,” a senior PWD official said.

According to the agriculture department, around 520 hectares of Kuruvai paddy and 1,200 hectares of cotton have been cultivated in Karaikal district. Among them, around 60 hectares of paddy and around hundred hectares of cotton are dependent on Cauvery water irrigation, while the rest are cultivated with groundwater irrigation with a supplementary source of river irrigation. A senior official from the agriculture department said, “We will guide farmers on alternative crops and drought-resistant varieties if water remains an issue for samba as well.”
This article has been republished from The New Indian express

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