No contingency plans made to overcome the situation
Rajahmundry: This year Rabi crop yield is likely to come down by 15 to 20 percent when compared to last year due to shortage of water and reduction in extent of crop area. Irrigation officials also admitted that severe shortage of water may cause dent in the yield. The drawals from Sileru Reservoir had already come down and groundwater level tables are showing depletion in dry land areas. The district administration and Irrigation officials did not make any contingency plans to save the Rabi Crop.
When contacted, Mr. Pratap Babu, Superintendent Engineer of Irrigation department, said they were releasing water to 3.35 lakh acres in Western (1.61 lakh acres) and Central and Eastern Deltas (1.74 acres). He said there would not be any shortage of water and expressed confidence that they would be able to maintain the present situation till the end of Rabi season i.e April 15.
But, the ground realities in East Godavari district are different. Last year, 10.30 lakh acres were sown during Rabi in three delta areas whereas this time the crop area has come down to just 3.35 lakh acres. Out of which in East Godavari this time the Irrigation department has permitted only 1.61 lakh acres in Rabi and another 15,000 acres under borewells in dry land areas like Seethanagaram, Gandepalli, Jaggampeta, Tuni and Peddapuram. According to Ground Water Department sources, ground water table plummeted from 7.104 meters last year to 8.023 meters this year. In upland areas it has gone down from 12.41 to 14.33 meters. “Last year we achieved an average of 35 quintals of paddy per acre and this year we are expecting not more than 30 quintals,” said Rambabu, farmer from Vadisaleru . “The administration had forecast worst situation far Rabi season last year and released Rs.7 crores for contingency plan. But this year, no action plan has been announced till now,” said Meesala Satyanarayana, CPI leader.