In a fervent demonstration, farmers in Tamil Nadu staged a protest on Tuesday by blocking railway tracks, demanding the release of Cauvery river water from their neighboring state, Karnataka. The protest comes in response to concerns about dwindling water levels in the Mettur reservoir, which pose a serious threat to the crops that have already been sown. Approximately 80,000 acres of land in the Thiruvarur district have been planted with paddy crops, and farmers fear that the diminishing water levels could jeopardize their livelihoods.
Farmers hailing from the Thanjavur, Thiruvarur, and Nagapattinam regions converged at the Thiruvarur railway station, effectively disrupting train services to draw attention to their demands.
Leading the protest was PR Pandian, the prominent figure of the Tamil Nadu Cauvery Farmers Organisation. Pandian criticised the central government’s inaction and expressed frustration with the current situation, saying, “The Modi Govern ment is simply watching farmers struggle with the cultivation of 15 lakh acres of sambha and 16 lakh acres of kuruvai crops. This can’t be allowed anymore. The Karnataka government is refusing to accept the Cauvery Water Management Authority’s suggestions. The Karnataka government is passing legislation illegally against the Supreme Court order.”
He continued, “The Modi government is not condemning this and is not caring about Tamil Nadu farmers. The Union government should make the Karnataka government provide water and should not allow the construction of a dam in Mekedatu.”
Pandian also urged the government to provide compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre to farmers who have suffered crop losses due to the lack of water.
The sharing of water from the Cauvery river, which flows through both Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, has been a longstanding source of contention between the two states. On Monday, the Cauvery Water Management Authority issued a directive to Karnataka to continue releasing 5,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu for an additional 15 days, seeking to address some of the pressing water-related concerns.