Deployment of Central forces along Tunga LLC stretch in Karnataka ruled out
Famers under the ayacut of Tungabhadra Dam’s Low Level Canal (LLC) in Kurnool district will have to bear the agony of receiving curtailed water supply for at least a few years more as the proposal to deploy Central forces along its stretch in Karnataka to prevent illegal tapping has been ruled out.
The LLC, which supports nearly 2 lakh acres in the district and provides water to hundreds of villages, is hardly getting 15 tmcft annually out of 24 tmcft, the full quota allocated to it by the Tribunal. This has been the situation for several years as farmers in Karnataka have been illegally tapping water, sometimes by raising bunds across the canal-bed. Water pilferage has become easy as the 350-km long LLC passes through Karnataka for 116 km before entering AP. For years, AP has sought deployment of Central forces along the stretch in that State to prevent illegal drawals. It has made repeated requests to Tungabhadra Board headed by a Central Water Commission chief engineer but to no avail.
AP is annoyed that Karnataka has been opposing deployment of Central forces in its territory, despite willingness expressed by the Centre spare the personnel and the offer by AP to bear 60 per cent cost. Based on the availability of water in Tungabhadra, the Board apportioned 14 tmcft to the LLC this year and but only 10 tmcft could be realised. A few days ago, the flow in the canal was completely stopped. Bellary District Collector restored the flow following a telephone call by a furious K. Suryaprakash Reddy, Union Minister of State for Railways. In contrast, High Level Canal which also originates from the dam and flows in Karnataka before touching Anantapur district (where it supports 2 lakh acres), is better placed. The illegal tapping from HLC is a little less as it passes through that state only for a few km.