A large number of farmers of Cumbum valley, including ayacutdars of 17 channels, took out a rally and blocked Theni-Kumuli highway in front of the PWD office here on Wednesday.
They condemned heavy discharge from Periyar dam and called for bringing it down so that the storage could be used to meet irrigation and drinking water needs till March-end.
The farmers said the storage stood only at 1,170 cusecs. At least 960 mcft of water was needed to protect the standing crop. Reducing the discharge to 300 cusecs would help maintain the supply till March-end. But 800 to 1,000 cusecs were being discharged.
Revenue and PWD officials assured them that the discharge would be brought down after February 5. But representatives of the farmers’ associations demanded immediate reduction in discharge.
They said the PWD officials did not keep their promises on previous occasions. But the officials maintained that the government had to take decision on discharge.
Karungattankulam Farmers’ Association president K. Vijaya Rajan said a huge quantum of discharge would lead to shortage of irrigation water.O.R. Narayanan, secretary, Cumbum Valley Farmers’ Association, said a meeting with the PWD Chief Engineer would be convened in Madurai on Thursday. If the outcome of the meeting was not satisfactory, they would stage a protest again, he said.