Salem, Sep 20: Tamil Nadu today opened the sluice gates of the Mettur Reservoir here to enable farmers take up cultivation of the samba paddy crop in the delta districts. In much relief to the farmers in this region, water was released for irrigating about 12 lakh acres as the sluice gates were opened in the presence of senior AIADMK Ministers Edappadi K Palaniswamy and P Thangamani, among others.
Palaniswamy told reporters that initially 2000 cusecs was being released and this would be gradually be increased to 12,000 cusecs by the evening.
Keeping with the usual practice, flowers were dropped into the gushing waters. Water from the dam is generally released on June 12 but this year it could not be done following low storage levels even as the AIADMK government had approached the Supreme Court seeking direction to Karnataka to release 50 tmcft to it.
While the court had on September 5 ordered 15,000 cusecs daily for ten days, it later modified its order, asking Karnataka to release 12,000 cusecs till today (September 20). Yesterday, the Cauvery Supervisory Committee in Delhi had ordered Karnataka to release 3,000 cusecs water per day to Tamil Nadu between September 21 and September 30.
With Mettur Dam witnessing steady inflows following Karnataka's release of water from the Cauvery River, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa had on September 16 ordered opening its sluice gates for irrigating samba crops in delta districts.
She had then said the decision to release water was based on factors like the dam touching 84.76 feet (capacity 120 ft) and likelihood of receiving more water from Karnataka reservoirs in view of the apex court order and an anticipated normal north east monsoon.
In August, Jayalalithaa had announced a Rs 64 crore special plan for farmers of delta districts to take up samba cultivation, and this included subsidy for various farm activities such as procurement of quality seeds, mechanised sowing and planting operations.