After a period of over a decade, the Stanely Reservoir will be opened on the annual customary date, June 12. The water from the reservoir, considered the lifeline of Cauvery delta farmers in Tamil Nadu, is for the 'Kuruvai' (short-term) paddy crop. Barring 2011, when water was released on June 6, six days ahead of the schduled date, the dam, built across Cauvery river, has not been opened on the customary date of June 12 for the past 11 years. In 2011, when late J Jayalalithaa was the Chief Minister, water was released from the dam on June 6, ahead of the customary date, officials said.
Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Monday ordered the water release from June 12 following representation from farmers in the delta regions and in view of the present water level of 100.01 feet and storage of 64.85 TMC feet as against the dam's maximum of 120 feet and capacity of 93.4 tmc feet.
The present storage in the reservoir, popularly known as Mettur Dam since it is located in the town in Salem district in western Tamil Nadu, would be sufficient for release of water for 50 days, an official release said. The scenario, brought about by bountiful rains last year, will bring cheers to lakhs of farmers, who had to forego the short-term crop several years in the past, owing to non-availability of water. In the past two decades, the Mettur Dam was opened on the dot on June 12 in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2008.
According to the press release, Chief Minister Palaniswami also ordered uninterrupted, 12-hour, three-phase power supply and continuation of disbursal of interest-free crop loan through Primary Agricultural Cooperative Credit Societies to the farmers. Farmers were asked to ensure individual distance and use masks to cover their nose and mouth while engaging in agriculture activities in view of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Last year, delta districts, including Thanjavur, Tiruchirappalli, Tiruvarur and Nagapattinam, considered the rice bowl of the state, saw a yield of 4.99 lakh tons of paddy from cultivation in 2.90 lakh acres. "This year, 5.60 lakh tons of paddy yield is expected after cultivation in 3.25 lakh plus acres," Palaniswami said and outlined several other measures to help farmers get a better yield.
(With inputs from PTI)