COVID-19: Tamil Nadu to Release Water from Mettur Dam, asked farmers to prepare for Agricultural Activities

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The Tamil Nadu State Government has requested the farmers to start the preparatory work for short-term Kuruvai cultivation as the Mettur’s storage reservoir is at 70% of its capacity and summer shower are expected in the state. The Kuruvai cultivation is carried out in nearly five lakh acres in the Cauvery delta beginning from the month of June.The guidelines for carrying out agricultural and horticultural full functional activities post 20th April will be provided by the Union government.

The water in the dam is at a capacity of 66.24tmcft that is at 101.8 ft. Considering the good storage of water in Mettur, the government is willing to make a decision on opening the sluice gates, which is the right of the state chief minister. Gagandeep Singh Bedi, the agriculture secretary, hopes that the agriculture operations will be done earnestly by the farmers. Farmers of Cuddalore and Villupuram, which are the northern part of the state and in some parts of Thanjavur, have already begun the preparation of the nurseries for the early Kharif season. Thanjavur, Nagapattinam, and Tiruvarur are the three delta districts in which 2.9 lakh acres land is being cultivated for the summer crops using the groundwater potential.

In both the private and public sectors, there is an availability of 10,320 seed. The government and various agricultural departments have begun the mobile sale of 1.06 lakh tonne of urea, 60,470 tonnes of MOP, and 82,280 tonnes of DAP in various districts that are available with the government and the agricultural departments.

S Ranganathan, the general secretary of the Cauvery Delta Farmers Welfare Association, suggested that water of the Mettur dam should not be released for summer crops as water will go waste to sea; instead, it should be released for traditional Kuruvai, thaladi and samba crops. The farmers of the region, including that of Thanjavur, have already requested to open the gates Mettur for the cultivation of crops.

The general secretary also stated that they would start sowing once the water is released from Mettur as they are not in a hurry. The Kuruvai crop sowing starts in late June or early July, and they harvest during the Diwali. During the rain, the preparatory work will commence. The plowing will take place during the rainy season, and the water from Mettur will help to irrigate and sow seeds.