The government has taken the initiative to revive the ‘Voor Maramamuthu‘ tradition that involves engaging farmers and local people to de-silt and look after tanks and ponds with a budget of Rs 100 crore.
K Sundaram, a small farmer at Manimangalam in Kancheepuram district, who has joined the initiative says that it will ensure proper supply of water for irrigation. “This will help store more water in lakes, and this will in turn help us get more water for irrigation, which means more crop,” he said.
‘Voor Maramamuthu’ is a practice where farmers have to remove weeds and deepen the lake to ensure proper supply of water for irrigation.
The initiative has seen positive response from farmers like S Rajee who cultivates paddy in over 10 acres of land. He feels the project will receive good response from the people.
There’s an incentive too for farmers who are part of the initiative. In many areas farmers like S Rajee can take limited loads of nutrition-rich silt to their farmland. “Earlier people wouldn’t come or would come for name sake. Now there would be ownership and common good. People would willingly come to work in village water bodies,” says Mr Rajee. He believes that the project will ensure adequate water supply even during drought unlike the crop loss he suffered two years ago due to drought.
With rainfall at 62 per cent deficit last monsoon, the Tamil Nadu government has asked the centre for Rs 40,000 crore aid. Seventeen farmers had killed themselves; and as many as 100 deaths had been linked to the drought.
But will desilting ponds and tanks be enough? Chief Minister Edappadi Palanisamy today said that the government is considering de-silting rivers as well.