Monsoon This Year Brings Relief For Farmers In Karnataka's Mandya

Cauvery is running full, dams on the river are full, and water for irrigation has been released after months of only drinking water being given priority

Mandya is irrigated by water from the Krishnarajasagara dam

Bengaluru:

Mandya district in Karnataka is the region that has seen the highest number of farmer suicides in the state over the past few years. This year, the monsoon has been generous so far in southern Karnataka -- and farmers in Mandya are more hopeful than they have been in years.

Successive years of drought have put severe stress on the farming community -- the district also had the highest number of farmer suicides in the state. But now, the Cauvery is running full, dams on the river are full, and water for irrigation has been released after months of only drinking water being given priority.

Ramachandra and Raghu were wading through water, getting fertile Mandya land ready for paddy. There is water this year, plenty of it. A huge relief after successive years of drought.

"I feel happy. This is good for the crops. It has been four or five years since the dam was full like this," Ramachandra told NDTV.

Raghu added, "This is very good for the people, the crops, the livestock."

Mandya is irrigated by water from the Krishnarajasagara dam. And with all four dams on the Cauvery at full capacity, the government has started releasing water for irrigation.

In lean months, only drinking water is released. Water for irrigation, not an issue so far this year, but farmers do still have hopes for better security.

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Javare Gowda says it has been seven years since they had water like this. "It is good for the people that the dam is full. Some cultivation is possible, maybe even two crops would be possible," he told NDTV.

Bore Gowda, who was organising the tilling of his land with a tractor, pointed out that more was needed for farmers to truly feel secure.

"Compared to earlier years, the dam has filled quickly this year. We are happy for that, but we are not getting support price for crops. It is not just about growing the crops. The crops must be bought from the farmers. We depend on that for school fees, household expenses, so the government must give a proper support price as well," Mr Gowda said.

NDTV asked irrigation minister DK Shivakumar about this request. He gave assurances. "Definitely, the government has worked out a lot of strategies. We have announced a support price for sericulture. We know the problems of the farmers. The government will look at all sections of society," Mr Shivakumar said.

For farmers, the Cauvery flowing full is a sight that brings confidence. After successive years of drought, the beautiful river Cauvery is giving hope to thousands of farmers who depend on the river for their crops.