District administration begins inspection into the matter

The problem of big farmers once again converting fertile paddy fields into fish tanks looms large in Krishna delta, threatening to cause problems to the owners of small agriculture holdings and also to drinking water sources.

Paddy fields were pooled together in hundreds of acres and they were converted into fish tanks with high embankments at Ramapuram village in Nandiwada mandal in Gudiwada area, which lies in the heart of delta. While this has become a matter of concern for people of neighbouring areas, the district administration has started looking into the whole matter by ordering an inspection by the officials of the agriculture, revenue and fisheries departments.

According to officials, permission should be taken from the local revenue, fisheries and agriculture officials before anybody seeks to alter the use of agriculture lands in delta area.

To give permission, the officials look at various parameters including the aspects of problems likely to be create for fertility of the soil there and also damages to nearby drinking water and percolation tanks.

The Ramapuram fish tanks issue is said to have come to the notice of District Collector Peeyush Kumar, who is stated to have called for a report from the officials concerned.

The officials of the related departments will soon inspect the area and submit their report.

Sources in the agriculture department say that it will be ascertained at a higher level whether the location of fish tanks at Ramapuram will affect crops in neighbouring fields.

It is said that fish tanks are allowed in adjoining areas of huge drains and streams as there is water logging problem, which causes problems for paddy cultivation. Water logging is said to be a frequent problem in Nandiwada mandal because of the Budameru drain.

The inspecting officials will also look into the aspect of whether fish tanks can be permitted in fields vulnerable to water logging despite the fact that the surrounding fields are fertile for cultivating paddy crop. There are indications that big farmers involved in fish cultivation in Kolleru lake area are setting their sights on select fields in delta as well. In the past, conversion was rampant in interior delta areas like Avanigadda where the fish culture was stopped following concern raised over pollution.

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