Farmers demand water for irrigation

Madurai: About 50 farmers from Melur region staged a protest at the district collector’s office on Monday demanding water for irrigation for their small crop area.

On November 1, government released water from Vaigai dam for cultivation of samba paddy crop in double crop areas stretching from Peranai to Kallanthiri consisting 45,000 acres. However, the single crop area is larger in Madurai spread over 60,000 acres from Kallanthiri to Melur. After studying the reservoir level, the district administration and public works department (PWD) decided to release water for double crop areas first and take a call to release water for single crop areas based on the inflow and rainfall during northeast monsoon.
However, the protesting farmers said that rainfall in northeast monsoon is meant for irrigation of single crop areas and charged that water should have been released for irrigation by now. They also submitted a petition in this regard on September 18 and in the following weeks too. A Adhigopalan, a farmer from Melur said they are running out of time and added that if water is released late, they can’t raise paddy as it will be out of season.
On Monday morning, the water level at Mullaperiyar dam stood at 122.80ft with storage of 3,182 mcft. The inflow to dam is 1,493 cusecs and 1,258 cusecs discharged from the dam. Vaigai dam level was at 56.76ft with storage of 3,012 mcft, inflow to the dam is 1,451 cusecs while 60 cusecs was drawn for drinking water needs of city. The 900 cusecs of water drawn for irrigation has been stopped temporarily considering the sporadic rainfall in the region.

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