Many farmers who were forced to work as labourers for want of irrigation water, take to farming following the trial release of water from Singoor canals

M. Mallaiah is the president of the Water Users’ Association and in his late 40s. Till recently he worked as a labourer under Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Generation Scheme (MNREGS) on daily wages.

But, the Singoor project has transformed not only his life but hundreds of farmers in Andol mandal who had to work as labourers as there was no water for irrigation. The construction of canals and trial release of water from Singoor has brought cheers to these farmers who have now taken to agriculture again.

“I worked as a daily wage earner despite having nine acres of land as there was no water for irrigation. The construction of canals and release of water from Singoor project is going to change our lives, forever. We can cultivate the lands, live a dignified life and provide work for many labourers,” says Mr. Mallaiah Partial completion of Singoor canals and trial run of water has increased the confidence levels among the farmers. It’s a four-decades-old dream that came true for the people of Andol constituency represented by Deputy Chief Minister C. Damodar Rajanarasimha, who was instrumental in completing the project. Land prices increased 10-fold. “We used to sell Rs. 40,000 per acre whereas the present rate is Rs. 4 lakh per acre,” says K. Srinivas Yadav, former sarpanch of Andol village. Even then many farmers are not ready to sell their lands.

B. Srinivas is more optimistic. “We are seven brothers having about four kuntas of land. We can get two crops of paddy every year once we get assured irrigation.

The rice yield is sufficient to feed my small family of four for the entire year without any worry,” says Srinivas pointing towards the completely filled Andol tank. K. Lingamaiah and B. Raju, having about 10 acres each, are busy clearing the bushes in the small sub-canal that leads to their fields. “More than 60 farmers are participating in the clearing job depending on the time available so that we can get water without hindrance,” they said.