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Godavari delta farmers on the edge

B.V.S. Bhaskar
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Uncertainty over release of water for rabi crop continues

Grim situation: Water levels touched a new low at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowleswaram on Sunday. — Photo: S. Rambabu
Grim situation: Water levels touched a new low at Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage at Dowleswaram on Sunday. — Photo: S. Rambabu

Ambiguity continues among irrigation officials over the release of Godavari water for the rabi crop in the delta area. With water levels touching a new low in recent times, farmers are a worried lot. Though the Chief Minister and district Ministers have tried to allay the apprehensions of farmers, the situation on the ground is different -- area under cultivation is going to fall this year.

The high-level Engineers Committee headed by C. Muralidhar, Engineer-in-Chief, which met in Hyderabad in the first week of this month categorically stated water cannot be released for more than 50 per cent of 8.96 lakh acres in both East and West Godavari districts in the rabi season. “The decision stands good even today and we are going to release water only to 4.48 lakh acres in both districts,” said Executive Engineer E. Venugopal on Sunday. He said the inflows are now at 8,700 cusecs, 1,235 cusecs from Sileru. Last year, the inflows were 46, 917 cusecs. “If the situation continues, pond level and canal levels will be equal and we cannot maintain surplus,” a Head Works Engineer said.

But, the farmers are asking how district Minister Thota Narasimham gave an assurance that 75 per cent ayacut would be covered in rabi. Farmer leaders K. Trinatha Reddy, Srinivasa Reddy and Nagireddy said water levels have dropped to the lowest level and seepage, evaporation losses will only worsen the situation. “Giving water to 50 per cent ayacut will be a major challenge in rabi and more than that is impossible,” said Reddy Brahmin Chowdary, president of the Water Management Committee.


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