The water woes faced by the tail-end farmers under Godavari western canal greeted the visiting high-level team of officials from the Irrigation department headed by Engineer-in-Chief B.S.N. Reddy.
The team visited several irrigation and drainage canals under Narasapur, Bhimavaram, Undi and Kalla mandals in the district on Friday and interacted with the local MLAs, Narsapur MP Kanumuri Bapi Raju and farmers’ representatives to get first hand information on supply of irrigation water and condition of the canal and irrigation systems.
Former minister from Narsapur Kothapalli Subbarayudu of the PRP briefed the team about the plight of the tail-end farmers in Mogalturu and Narsapur mandals for want of water.
He said the paddy transplantations did not take place in over 2,000 acres in Mogalturu mandal located at the tail-end of the canal system. He wanted the government to take steps for an additional release of 2,000 cusecs of water for the tail-end areas by reducing the releases meant for the fields in upper reaches where the transplantations were completed.
Transplantation is due in some areas falling under Kalla, Bhimavaram, Undi and Akiveedu mandals as the canals were failing to take water to the tail-end parts.
The team faced a piquant situation wherein the tail-end farmers were facing water crisis in spite of the fact that the canals were carrying sufficient water from Godavari river.
A huge quantum of 7,200 cusecs of water is getting released from the river into the canal system every day as against the designed capacity of 7,500 cusecs in the current khariff as against 5,400 cusecs in the last rabi. Even as the typical situation brings to the fore the water management capabilities of the Irrigation Department and poor official-farmer coordination, the Engineer-in-Chief talking to the media at Narsapur, attributed the water problem in the tail-end parts to ‘over-exploitation’ by their counterparts in upper reaches. As part of the endeavour to find a lasting solution to the problem, the government was proposed to ground lift schemes in the tail-end areas, he added.
Farmers from Jakkaram village in Kalla mandal urged the team to ensure removal of fishponds which illegally came up on the canal bunds preventing water flow to the tail-end areas.