Threat to standing sugarcane, banana crops in Karur district

No rain and not opening of South Bank Canal cited

Farmers in the Kulithalai and Krishnarayapuram region might be affected

Ryots are apprehensive that opening of canal might get delayed

KARUR: Standing sugarcane and banana crop in thousands of acres across the Kulithalai and Krishnarayapuram regions of Karur district might get affected if there is no rain in the days to come and also if the South Bank Canal, that has remained shut for maintenance work, is not opened for irrigation in the near future.

Farmers in the Kulithalai and Krishnarayapuram region who have raised sugarcane and banana crops in their fields are apprehensive of saving their crop, leave alone having a good yield this harvest season. That is because they are forced to contend with twin problems — nature and man-made developments.

There is no rain in the desired and required pattern and quantum over the past few weeks.

The monsoon is playing truant and there has been some sporadic showers but that is not enough for the parched farm lands in the region.

Also, there has not been appreciable inflow into Mettur Dam, forcing the authorities to postpone its opening for the delta irrigation due to inadequate storage.

Though Karur farmers are not directly benefited by the opening of the dam, the flow in the river means the wells in the region get recharged and more groundwater will be available for the fields and crops, according to the Farmers Discussion Group convener Kulithalai A.V. Gopaladesikan.

Also the main feeder channel for the region — the South Bank Canal — has remained shut since May 1 following the regular closure period for maintenance work and also to facilitate the construction of drop shutters at Marudur. It is an essential and long-awaited work but could consume the best of July and is forcing the Public Works Department officials to prolong the closure period of the canal. They are simply utilising the duration when the Mettur Dam remained shut for want of water to undertake repair and construction works in South Bank Canal.

The officials have promised to end closure period on July 20 but farmers are apprehensive that it might get delayed.

Mr. Gopaladesikan observes that in case of any delay in onset of monsoon and occurrence of rainfall, then sugarcane crop roots that have grip on super surface would be affected badly, affecting yield and weight. In young crops, withering might take place, while in the aged crops there could be loss of weight, he points out.

Banana crop

Likewise in the standing banana crop germination of bunches will be hit hard and get choked resulting in direct loss to growers. When cane and banana are fetching a reasonably good price, any factor affecting productivity and yield could be detrimental to the farmers who could only pray to nature and hope the officials complete the construction activity in time and reopen South Bank Canal.

From THE HINDU

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