The general body meeting of the West Godavari Zilla Parishad on Saturday brought to the fore the alleged apathy by the administration in handling the drinking water problem in the current summer and execution of the Godavari delta modernisation project. Cutting across the political affiliations, members from both the treasury and the Opposition benches sought to question the commitment of official machinery in handling the twin issues that confronted the district most.
Polisetti Das of the TDP from Veeravasaram complained that a number of summer storage tanks, meant to cater to the drinking water needs of the rural folks, were not yet filled with the canal water even as barely 18 days were to go for the closure of canals for maintenance works. The villagers even in the delta were receiving water by tankers engaged by the Rural Water Supply (RWS) department, one could imagine the plight of the people living in villages on the sea coast and in the upland areas, Mr. Das regretted.
RWS Superintending Engineer, Ch. Appa Rao said the administration would monitor the water problem from time to time by constituting Vigilance Committees in all the problematic areas involving the representatives from Panchayat Raj, RWS and Irrigation departments.
The RWS was preparing ground to fill the tanks with the canal waters in coordination with the Irrigation department. Mr. Das, however, interrupted the official and said the tank filling move would be met with a strong Opposition from farmers right now as the paddy at the initiation stage was badly in need of sufficient water in the tail-end areas. The TDP member was joined by Garapati Rama Sita of the Congress and several other members from both the Congress and the TDP on the issue.
The members representing the tail-end areas expressed their anguish over the delay in completing the Rs 1,400 crore Godavari modernisation programme, which intended to give a facelift to the irrigation and drainage systems in the Godavari delta. When the project was scheduled to be finished in five years, its progress was at a snail's pace even four years after its launching, ,
Mr. Das observed.
G. Purnachandra Rao, Superintending Engineer, Irrigation department, admitted that there was no response from contractors for execution of 11 reaches relating to irrigation canals and 14 packages regarding the drainage system under the modernisation scheme in spite of the government calling for tenders twice. Consequently, the department confined itself to supervising mondernisation works under three packages only, he added.