N-E monsoon sets in over TN

Great relief for Samba (paddy) farmers in Cauvery delta

Several parts of Chennai city were waterlogged as rain lashed from past midnight even as Papanasam and Valangaiman in the Thanjavur area, the heart of the Cauvery delta, received a maximum rainfall of 13 cm each in the last 24 hours. Virudachalam, Kodavasal and Vembavur in Perambalur district recorded 11 cms each, even as Chennai metro had a good rainfall of 6 cm.

The onset of the monsoon has come in as a breather for Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, in a tight spot over opposition’s demand for counter-moves to an all-party decision in Karnataka, not to voluntarily release Cauvery waters to the state.

Despite a slight delay in the North-East monsoon’s arrival this year, which usually sets in by October 20, a refreshing spell of rains all across the state and adjoining areas including south-interior Karnataka, has set to rest anxieties about the rainfall pattern this season from October to December.

The Director of the Regional Meteorological Centre in Chennai, S R Ramanan, officially announced that the North-East monsoon rain “commenced today (Friday) over Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, adjoining areas of south-interior Karnataka, Kerala, Rayalseema and South coastal Andhra Pradesh.”

On the very first day, the North-East monsoon has been vigorous over Tamil Nadu, for which this is the main rainy season in a year, accounting for about 48 per cent of the annual rainfall, the Met office said.

The North-East monsoon is also important for adjoining states, as it contributes up to 20 per cent of the annual rainfall of interior Karnataka, Kerala and Lakshadweep, the Met office said.

For farmers in the Cauvery delta here, the rains have come as a great relief, as sowing of the main ‘Samba’ (long-term) paddy crop this year has begun in several places amid worrisome water storage in the Mettur reservoir.

However, the Mettur dam is expected to receive enhanced inflows of Cauvery waters from later Friday night or early Saturday, with the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir in Karnataka reportedly overflowing.

Official sources said Mettur reservoir till Friday had only 25 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water stored against its full level of 93.5 tmcft. Anticipating the North-East monsoon rains and increased inflows into Mettur, sowing of ‘samba’ paddy crop is in full swing in 2.80 lakh hectares in the Cauvery delta areas of Tamil Nadu, and another one lakh hectares of land are waiting to be sowed in the coming weeks.

This year, the state had lost most of its first crop of ‘Kuruvai’ paddy and now banks on ‘Samba’ paddy. The current agriculture operations required at least 1.5 tmcft of water to be released daily from the Mettur reservoir, sources said.

What is particularly good news for the farmer sector is that the Met office here has predicted moderate to heavy rainfall in many places in the delta districts, while “isolated heavy rainfall” has been forecast across the state and Puducherry during the next 48 hours.

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