Monsoon ditches Kodagu

The delay in monsoon has become a cause for worry among farmers. Though a similar situation had prevailed in June last year, heavy rains that lashed Kodagu after July 8 brought life to a standstill. Schools were closed between July 8 and 11, 2009, and Cauvery flowed in full spate.

However, even after 11 days into July this year, monsoon rains are yet to make an appearance and the delay is affecting farming activities in the district. While sowing was to be undertaken in 39,250 hectares in the district, only 3,400 hectares, which is a mere nine per cent, is under sowing. This nine per cent is in Somavarapet, where jowar has been sown in 3,050 hectares, ragi in 100 hectares and tobacco in 250 hectares.

While it has been targeted to grow paddy in 35,000 hectares in the district, the transplantation work has not commenced anywhere. Non-availability of water in the fields has hindered transplantation. The process could be carried in the land abutting to water tracts, but vanishing monsoon rains have deterred farmers from proceeding further.

River Cauvery has also been affected by the delay in monsoon. Even though water levels in Triveni Sangama in Bhagamandala increased twice, the decrease in rain has prevented Cauvery from flowing in full spate.

As a cascading effect to this, farmers in Mysore and Mandya, who are dependent on river Cauvery for their irrigation and drinking water needs, have also been badly affected.
Water levels at the Harangi dam in the district and KRS in Mysore too may not rise to its maximum levels this year.

Rains in Madikeri is a necessity for farmers in Tamil Nadu too, who are also dependent on Cauvery. If monsoon is delayed further, there is no ruling out the possibility of a struggle between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu for Cauvery water this year. The Agriculture department is, however, hopeful that the rains will make an appearance in August.

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