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Kuruvai coverage rose by 40% above normal in last five years

While a suggestion has been made by a group of agricultural specialists to sections of farmers in the Cauvery delta region to skip paddy during this year’s Kuruvai season, the last five years have seen a perceptible rise in the average extent of coverage for the season.

The normal coverage, as worked out by the State Agriculture Department, is about 3.24 lakh acres for the delta, which covers the districts of Thanjavur, Tiruvarur, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Ariyalur, Tiruchi and Cuddalore. However, going by the average for the last five years, the figure comes to 4.57 lakh acres — a nearly 40% rise.

Citing the poor storage at the Mettur dam, the agricultural specialists — P. Kalaivanan and his colleagues — have calculated the approximate quantity of Cauvery water that is expected to be realised in the next couple of months, as also the rest of the year.

Based on the calculations, their advice to those dependent on the supply of Cauvery water is to go for a single crop, which is to be taken up during the period between August 15 and September 7, when even long-term varieties can be sown. If direct sowing is resorted to, the quantity of water required would be less.

Welcoming the recommendation of the specialists, V. Sathyanarayanan, general secretary of the Consortium of Cauvery Delta Farmers, says that only those having access to deep borewells should raise the crop during Kuruvai. Even they should be cautious where there are reports of ingress of saline water in the groundwater table. He contends that parts of Mayiladuthurai district and Needamangalam in Tiruvarur are suffering from ingress.

As for the reasons for the coverage area achieved in recent years, Mr. Sathyanarayanan cites the State government’s implementation of the Kuruvai package assistance, and farmers resorting to direct sowing even during the season.

Explaining the recent trend further, KV Ilankeeran, president of the Federation of Farmers’ Organisations in the Delta, attributes the development to the commencement of water release on June 12, and even ahead of the scheduled date in 2022, and the provision of a large Number of additional electricity connections to farmers under the free power scheme. He adds that the present government’s decision to provide support in kind (potash, urea and DAP) instead of cash under the Kuruvai package is also one of the contributing factors.

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