Transplantation of paddy seedlings is gaining momentum in different parts of Mandya district despite “strict restrictions” by the State government against cultivating water-intensive crops in the Cauvery river basin areas.
Water from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) was not released to canals in the district till August 14 owing to poor storage. Water is being discharged to canals from August 14 as per a decision taken by the government “only to fill lakes as well as to irrigate wetlands to grow semi-arid crops.”
Farmers are instructed not to use canal waters for sowing paddy and sugarcane. Nevertheless, the transplantation of paddy seedlings has been completed on over 1,000 hectares in the last 10 days. The farmers are also cultivating sugarcane, said officials at the Agriculture Department.
Paddy was covered merely on 50 hectares and sugarcane was on 2,900 hectares till August 14. But, the coverage of paddy rose to 1,000 hectares and sugarcane to 3,016 hectares on Tuesday, according to statistics at the Agriculture Department.
“We have been initiating all measures to create awareness among the farmers against cultivating paddy. We have framed a Contingency Crop Plan and are implementing it. In spite of it, the farmers are transplanting paddy seedlings,” M.N. Rajasulochana, Joint Director, Agriculture Department, told The Hindu . The farmers would not get crop loss compensation owing to the stoppage of water, she warned.
According to another official, sowing of paddy would cross 10,000 hectares during the current kharif season as hundreds of farmers in Srirangapatna, Pandavapura, Malavalli, and Mandya have raised nurseries.
The department had a set a target of sowing paddy on 60,067 hectares and sugarcane on 24,829 hectares during the current season.