SC verdict bolt from the blue for Mandya farmers

With their crops withering, they see red over TN demand

 The Supreme Court order, asking Karnataka to release 9,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu daily till October 20, has come as a bolt from the blue for farmers in the Cauvery basin of the district.

Sugarcane, paddy and other crops on thousands of acres of land face the danger of withering, if water is released to the neighbouring State from the Karnataka’s Cauvery reservoirs. The economy of the district is likely to be paralysed, with all seven taluks having already been declared drought-hit. 

The sugarcane crop in Koppa hobli of Maddur taluk, which is at the tail-end of the Cauvery canal, has failed for want of water. Agriculture activities have not been started on 60,000 hectares of land as the river water is yet to reach them this season.
The plan to supply water to 40 tanks of Malavalli and Maddur taluks has come unstuck and the situation portends a major crisis in the coming months, especially in summer.

The paddy crop in the command area of the district requires water till December 15. Only 23 tmc ft of the KRS water will now be available, with a flow of 5,295 cusecs to the canals every day. The present storage will last only for the next 45 days.

Farmers here claim that Tamil Nadu is demanding water for its future samba crop, while the Karnataka farmers will not have enough water even for the standing crops. Raitha Sangha leader K S Puttannaiah says the Centre should understand the grim situation in the State.

Vigil at dams

Meanwhile, a meeting of the district farmers’ welfare committee on Saturday decided to keep a 24-hour vigil at the KRS and Kabini reservoirs to ensure that water is not released to Tamil Nadu. Farmers will lay siege to the KRS reservoir, if water is released. MP Cheluvarayaswamy was present.

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