Canals are scheduled to be reopened on June 1 in Amalapuram

Even as half the period of canal closure has been already completed, the delta modernisation works have yet to be commenced in East Godavari district. Nonchalant attitude of the contractors seem to be the reason behind the nonstarter of works.

The canals are scheduled to be reopened on June 1 in Amalapuram division and on June 11 for the rest of the district. The initial idea is to complete works worth Rs. 40 crore during the short-closure. However, even after two weeks of the closure, no work has been taken up.

Farmers under the areas of Kakinada and Mandapeta canals, who have sacrificed their crop for the long-clousre last year, have kept their fingers crossed hoping the works like construction of bridges on the irrigation canals will be completed during the short-closure. Except the commencement of works at Konkuduru bridge, the activity is not on the expected lines of the farmers, who are fearing about another forcible long-closure for the completion of the pending works.

“The officials are not ready with the plans and designs and the contractors are nowhere visible in the scene as of now. How can we expect the works to be completed in the next two weeks?” asks Kovvuri Trinadha Reddy, a progressive farmer and former general secretary of the AP Farmers’ Water Management Committees’ Association. He says the farmers are already in neck deep troubles with calamities like Neelam cyclone and indifferent attitude of the officials towards issues like distribution of crop insurance and cyclone relief. “The works must be completed only during the short-closures, as we are not ready for long-closure anymore,” he says.

The officials, on the other hand, say it is difficult to complete the works in a short span and a long-closure is needed to complete the pending works. “The contractors are not ready with required machinery and materials. As the time is very short, we are looking at alternatives like taking up the modernisation of medium and small drains, ” says P. Gopala Krishna Reddy, CE of the Irrigation department (Godavari delta).