Special Correspondent

They allegedly dug holes in the Krishna Right Bank to lay pipelines and draw water illegally

VIJAYAWADA: Cases have been booked at the behest of the River Conservator against 18 farmers who allegedly burrowed through the Krishna Right Bank to illegally draw water for their fields located in Guntur district.

River Conservator and Krishna Central Division (Irrigation) Executive Engineer G. Bhaskara Rao told The Hindu that the police booked cases against the farmers after a little bit of “coercion.”

Flood havoc

The Irrigation Department launched a drive to remove pipelines that were laid illegally by farmers by boring holes through the flood banks to irrigate their fields after the breach of the flood bank near Voleru that caused extensive loss of crop and property during the recent floods in the Krishna, he said.

Mr. Bhaskara Rao said that in all 81 such pipes were brought to light in the drive. The Irrigation Department was able to completely remove 53 pipes and render ineffective the remaining 28.

Unfortunately, 18 farmers put back the pipes removed by the officials. It was under these circumstances that police cases had to be booked against the farmers, he said.

Local panels

Guntur Collector B. Ramanjaneyulu constituted local committees with officials drawn from the Irrigation, Revenue and Police departments to review the situation every fortnight and take appropriate action. The committee members of the respective departments – assistant engineer (irrigation), tahsildar (revenue) and sub-inspector (police) – would follow-up the developments through their departmental heads, Mr. Bhaskara Rao said.

There was no need for constitution of such committees in Krishna district because there were only a couple of such illegal pipelines on the Krishna Left Bank and these were removed without any problem.

Heavy earthmoving equipment was required for removal of the remaining 28 pipelines that were temporarily sealed on the Guntur district side, he said.