Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday ordered the Public Works Department (PWD) officials to release water from the Mettur dam on May 24, instead of the customary water release on June 12, to facilitate the Cauvery delta farmers to take up Kuruvai paddy cultivation.
The water level in the reservoir is rapidly rising owing to rains in the catchment areas. Due to copious inflows, the level of water in the dam on Saturday stood at 115.35 feet against a full reservoir level of 120 feet.
At present, the dam has a storage of 86.25 TMC water and if the inflows continue at this rate, then the reservoir is expected to attain full capacity soon, the government said.
“Hence, considering the interest of the Cauvery Delta farmers, the Chief Minister has directed the PWD to open the dam on May 24 to facilitate the Kuruvai paddy cultivation instead of the scheduled release of water on June 12,” an official release here said.
“This is the first time since Independence the (sluice gates of the) Mettur dam will be opened in the month of May. As a result, four lakh acres of agriculture land in the Cauvery Delta districts of Tiruchirappalli, Perambalur, Pudukottai and Cuddalore will be brought under Kuruvai (short-term) paddy crop cultivation,” the release said.
Also, it would be the second time since Independence that the water will be released for Kuruvai cultivation on the scheduled date (of June 12) or ahead of it for three consecutive years, the release said. Last year, the water was released on June 12.
Built in 1934, the Mettur reservoir is one of the largest dams in the state located in Salem district. The dam is receiving an inflow of 46,353 cusecs water while 1,500 cusecs water is being discharged today, sources said.
“Desilting of the irrigation canals that commenced on April 23 at a cost of Rs 80 crore, is progressing on a war footing and would be completed by May 31,” the release stated.
Water from the reservoir would fully reach the tail-end areas on time, the Chief Minister assured and urged the ryots to judiciously use the water.
He directed the district collectors to ensure uninterrupted and timely supply of fertilisers and disbursement of crop loans to farmers.