Marayur: Farmers in Kanthalloor and Vattavada areas of Idukki are in dire straits due to drastic environmental changes and torrid summer. An unprecedented drought has hit the region - leaving Puthur, Perumala, Kulachivayal, Keezhanthoor and Aadivayal in Kanthalloor severely affected.
Grantis cultivation and the flattening of land for resort construction have caused streams to dry up. Farmers, who began work on temperate season crops, are facing trouble due to lack of rain - February recorded only seven days of rain.
The plants, just a month old, are ravaged by the heat. The cabbage, cauliflower and carrot crops can be salvaged only if they can be nurtured for at least two more months.
Most of these farmers had raised money for cultivation by taking loans. Lack of adequate irrigation and the demolition of the Pattisseri Dam for reconstruction have added to farmers' woes. As of now, the only source of water for them is the stream from Mannavan Chola.
Farmers in Kanthalloor had been depending on brooks alone for cultivation and never needed motor pumps to irrigate their farmlands. But, deprived of streams, this is changing fast. These days, they are bringing water from far off places, filling them up in ponds and pumping them into cultivated land.
These farmers were eying the demand for vegetables in the Vishu-Easter season. But the lack of irrigation water has toppled their plans.
The farmers requested the authorities to declare cold-season farmlands as drought-affected. they had also sough irrigation facilities and financial assistance.