Drop in water levels worries ryots

K.N. Murali Sankar
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Administration rules out water release for upland mandals during Rabi

The damage caused by the ‘Nilam’ cyclone to farmers in the district has been put at Rs. 100 crore by the Agriculture Department. The farmers, who pinned their hopes on the ex gratia announced by the government and a better yield from the Rabi are now in a desolate mood.

While the payment of ex gratia is being delayed for one reason or the other, the district administration has made it clear that it is not possible to release water for the upland mandals for the Rabi season in the wake of shortage of power supply, which is coupled with the sudden drop in water levels in the Godavari. Farmers from the delta region too are asked to use the water preciously and choose paddy varieties that consume less quantity of water.

The official decision has dampened the hopes of farmers from the upland mandals who cultivate paddy in 46,450 hectares. The farmers have to focus on cultivation of semi-arid crops like pulses. Though water release for the second crop in the upland areas is not in practice, farmers badly needed water release this time due to the crop loss incurred because of the cyclone.

During the last Rabi season, the officials forcibly stopped release of water into Kakinada and Mandapeta canals to pave way for the delta modernisation works. There was no paddy cultivation in 65,600 hectares during that season.

Crop holiday

In Kharif-2011, the farmers from Konaseema region stopped paddy cultivation as they observed crop holiday. Paddy fields in an extent of about 40,000 hectares remained vacant throughout the season. “Notwithstanding the drop in the yield, rice exports are going on from here. This is indicating not just the quantity of buffer stock of the grains, but the importance of changing the crop pattern,” says model farmer Kovvuri Trinadha Reddy.

He advises the farmers to opt for crops other than paddy, so that they can get good returns. For the farmers from the upland mandals, the Agriculture Department is making arrangements to distribute seed of pulses.

“Arrangements are being made to disburse the ex gratia amount to the farmers who lost their crop due to the cyclone at the earliest.

The amount will be credited directly into the bank accounts,” says Agriculture Joint Director D. Prameela.

  • Delay in payment of ex gratia adds to farmers’ woes

  • Farmers from the delta region also asked to use water preciously

  • Farmers have been advised to opt for the crops other than paddy

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