No Rabi crop under ayacut of Krishna Eastern Bank canal: Board

The Krishna Eastern Delta Irrigation Advisory Board (IAB) has decided that there will be no Rabi crop for farmers under the ayacut of the Krishna Eastern Bank (KEB) Canal, so that works for the modernisation of the irrigation system could be taken up this year.

Avanigadda MLA Ambati Brahmanaiah, who raised the subject at the IAB meeting held in sub-collector's conference hall here on Monday, said farmers in his Assembly constituency did not want water for Rabi, but wanted a guarantee from the Government that the delta modernisation works would be taken up in the work season.

Machilipatnam MLA Perni Venkataramaiah (Nani) said farmers in his constituency that were in the ayacut of the KEB canal were ready to forgo Rabi so that work under the delta modernisation could be expedited. The MLA said there would be trouble if no work was taken up even after farmers gave up the Rabi crop. With a view to resolving the issues pertaining to modernisation works expeditiously, representatives of ‘agencies' that were executing the works were also invited to the IAB. Machilipatnam MP Konakalla Narayana Rao said the primary reason for contractors (agencies) executing work slowly was their fear that the State government would not be able to pay their bills.

Mylavaram MLA Devineni Umamaheswara Rao urged the Irrigation officials to come out openly if there was a shortage of funds so that the matter could be taken up with Chief Minister K. Rosaiah.

Allaying these fears, Minister for Animal Husbandry K. Parthasarathy and Chief Engineer (Delta Modernisation) D. Sambaiah said Rs. 75 crore had been allocated for the works in the budget. Another Rs. 150 crore to Rs. 200 crore that were tied up to modernisation works in the Godavari Delta were also available as those farmers were not ready to accept a crop holiday this year.

The IAB also discussed with representatives of the executive agencies the hitches preventing the execution of works on Eluru Canal, South Channel and East Channel.

Denduluru MLA Chinthamaneni Prabhakar urged the board to take steps to expedite the lining of Eluru Canal in Eluru town for a stretch of five km.

Nandigama MLA Tangirala Prabhakar Rao, quoting from Charles Dickens' “The Tale of Two Cities”, said there was absolute chaos in the Irrigation Department. Several Lift Irrigation (LI) schemes were not working. The worst was the Pendyala LI that had an ayacut of 18,000 acres but was being used by some private persons to irrigate only their 400 acres.

Neither the Irrigation Development Board responsible for the LI scheme nor the Irrigation Department cared about the plight of the farmers under this LI.

Krishna district Collector Peeyesh Kumar and Mr. Parthasarathy reacted strongly to the “excuses” given by the Irrigation department engineer concerned and asked him to take up the issue with the Minister concerned.

More In: Vijayawada