The Tamil Nadu government today announced a Rs 56 crore package for farmers in Cauvery delta districts in the state to take up ‘kuruvai’ (short-term) paddy and pulses plantation. This included supply of 12 hours of three phase power, Chief Minister K Palaniswami said. Considering the low water storage level at the Mettur Dam, he said it was not possible to open the sluice gates for irrigating kuruvai crops this year. Water is released from the dam when the storage level is at 90 feet as against its full capacity of 120 feet, he said in a statement.
He also said Karnataka “had not released” Tamil Nadu’s due share of Cauvery water last year, affecting the prospects of both Samba and kuruvai crops then. Due to this, the water level at Mettur dam also stood at just 23.68 feet, Palaniswami said and also referred to the unprecedented drought being faced in Tamil Nadu and recalled the various mitigation measures rolled out by the state.
Palaniswami said he had reviewed the situation with Agriculture Minister R Doraikannu and senior officials following which it was decided to provide a Rs 56.92 crore ‘kuruvai package’ to enable farmers take up short-term crops. “Like in the past years, 12-hour three phase power will be supplied to the Delta districts. Further, using available water resources, it has been decided to take up paddy cultivation on just 1.60 lakh acres of land,” he said.
Last year, paddy cultivation was done on 3.16 lakh acres, he added. However, the government will promote the cultivation of pulses of various kinds on another 1.32 lakh acres as an alternative to paddy, he said. He announced 100 per cent subsidy on different types of manure and fertilisers for paddy cultivation, besides granting total subsidy to farmers taking up cultivation of pulses.
Subsidy would also be provided to machines used in transplantation and specific PVC pipes, he added. The package would achieve the objectives of paddy and pulses cultivation using groundwater and improve soil health, the Chief Minister said. He said he had directed the Agriculture department to immediately initiate the works.