Water was not released into Boranagowdana canal last year
“My father would have not committed suicide if the yield was good,” said R. Arpitha, a final year B.A. student. Her father Ramesh (45), disappointed with crop loss and increasing debt, committed suicide on Thursday by hanging.
The father of three had two acres of land at Kabbaligere in Arkalgud taluk. His land is close to the Boranagowdana canal of the Hemavati project.
Expecting sufficient water, he cultivated paddy and tobacco. He also borrowed Rs. 2.5 lakh from a cooperative bank.
“He borrowed cash from friends and relatives. But he did not tell us how much he borrowed. Whenever we asked him about it, he told us not to bother,” said his wife Sunanda.
His family members and relatives alleged that Ramesh suffered loss as the Water Resources Department and Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. did not release water from the Hemavati reservoir into the Boranagowdana canal last year.
Borangowdana canal and Adike Bommanahalli lift irrigation project are two major sources of water for agricultural activities in the region.
The canal was constructed at a cost of Rs. 43.5 crore and dedicated to the public in September 1989.
However, this time, none of the farmers cultivating on the 56,000 acres (ayacut) of the canal got water for their paddy or tobacco crops.
“We all depend on the canal for our agricultural activities. But for the last year, the canal is dry and there has been no water for our crops. Many of us have not got back what we invested,” said Venkatesh, a farmer of Kabbaligere.
Farmers depending on Adike Bommanahalli lift irrigation project too have a similar story to tell. This project was conceived to provide water to 8,500 acres in 29 villages and inaugurated in September 2006.
An employee of the Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd., deputed at the project site, said that the infrastructure had remained unused since July 2012 as the transformers developed technical problems following a lightning strike.
Despite repeated demands from the farmers, the authorities concerned have not fixed the problem.