August 12, 2016
Thanjavur: With Kuruvai cultivation failing for the fifth successive year and uncertainty prevailing over water release from Karnataka for Samba cultivation, the farmers in the delta region have now expressed fear and apprehension that prices of paddy could go up to Rs.125 per kilo!
Kuruvai has been taken up in only 54,000 acres in Thanjavur district against the normal 1.20 lakh acres, as Mettur dam was not opened on the scheduled date of June 12 for delta irrigation. If the water is not released on time, the Kuruvai paddy crops would wither and die. Yield too will be affected, R. Sugumaran, a progressive farmer in Kakkarai village in Orathanadu Taluk and the state vice-president of Thamizhaga Vivasayigal Sangam, said.
“If the standing crops are not saved, it will lead to a situation where farmers and agriculture workers will lose income. This will result in crime graph moving up in the delta region as the small, tiny farmers and agriculture workers will be forced to take to crimes to make a living. Besides, the Public Distribution System (PDS) will also be severely hit in the absence of paddy cultivation,” he said.
Sukumaran, who is holding 110 acres of land, is cultivating the Kuruvai crop in only 20 acres this year. Last year, it was 40 acres. “Now, Culture Ponni is sold at Rs. 60 a kg, while Karnataka Ponni is sold at Rs. 90 a kilo in the open market. If the standing kKruvai crop is not saved and the Samba cultivation is not taken up, the price of rice will go up further. Soon, rice will be sold at Rs. 125 a kilo in the absence of paddy cultivation in the delta region,” Sukumaran said.
After a failed Kuruvai, Samba cultivation too has become uncertain in the absence of water for delta irrigation. This is the first time in the history of Mettur dam that the delta farmers go without Kuruvai and Samba crops. Such a situation had never occurred before. “At least in the previous years, the farmers had either Kuruvai or Samba,” he added.