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‘Pisanam’ paddy cultivation targets to be achieved comfortably this year

Good storage level in dams and tanks in southern districts is a major factor

‘Pisanam’ paddy cultivation in Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi and Tenkasi districts is all set to surpass target this season, thanks to the active northeast monsoon that has ensured excellent water storage in all dams and tanks.

As the northeast monsoon has increased water level in Papanasam, Servalar and Manimuthar dams, cultivation of paddy during this ‘pisanam’ season has been actively taken up. While Papanasam and Servalar dams are about to reach their maximum storage level, Manimuthar dam, the largest reservoir of the district, now has 93 feet water (about 55%) against its maximum storage level of 118 feet.

With the rain continuing in the dam’s catchment areas, the reservoir is expected to overflow before mid-December.

Joint Director of Agriculture (Tirunelveli) Gajendra Pandian told The Hindu that raising of paddy nursery and cultivation of paddy had been completed on over 15,000 hectares against the target of 30,000 hectares.

“We are hopeful of surpassing the target this year as almost all waterbodies – both systemised and rain-fed tanks – are either overflowing or about to attain the maximum storage level now and storage in major reservoirs is also satisfactory. Since the rain continues, we are hopeful of having bumper ‘summer crop’ also this year,” said Mr. Gajendra Pandian.

In Thoothukudi distric, too, almost all waterbodies in Tamirabharani irrigation system are overflowing. Similarly, the tanks under Korampallam and Vaippaar basins and the rain-fed tanks have 90% water.

Cultivation of paddy has so far been completed on 1,100 hectares against the target of 10,000 hectares.

“Since the conditions prevailing in the district is favouable, paddy nurseries have been raised even in the rain-fed areas where wells are brimming with water. We are hopeful of surpassing the target,” said S.I. Mohideen, Joint Director of Agriculture.

In both the districts, steps have been taken to ensure the unhindered supply of certified seeds of Ambai 16, TPS 5, PPT 5204, NLR 34449 and TKM 13 and chemical fertilizers to farmers. Chemical nutrients such as urea, potash and complex have been stocked sufficiently, the officials said.

However, the farmers are a bit worried about the short supply of di-ammonium phosphate, which is being sold at the market at inflated price.

“While the prescribed price is ₹1,200 per 50 kg bag, it is being sold at ₹1,450 and above due to short supply,” said farmers N. Balamurugan from Cheranmahadevi and P. Balasurbamanian from Shencottai.

The officials, however, say the farmers should produce their Aadhaar cards while buying chemical fertilizers through ‘point of sale’ to weed out the issue of inflated sale of fertilizers.

According to Mr. Gajendra Pandian and Mr. Mohideen, surprise raids are being conducted to check the quality agriculture inputs, including seeds, pesticides and fertilizers, and the sale of fertilizers at an inflated price will lead to cancellation of licence if the affected farmers register complaint.

“We have cancelled the licence of three shops while explanation has been sought from five others for irregularities,” said Mr. Mohideen.

In Tenkasi district, water level in Gadana, Ramanadhi, Karuppanadhi and Adavinainar dams is nearing the maximum storage level, while Gundar dam, the smallest reservoir of the district with a height of 36 feet, is overflowing. Consequently, farming operations, especially, ‘pisanam’ season paddy cultivation has gathered momentum.

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