Slow pace of delta modernisation work worries farmers

K.N. Murali Sankar
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‘Lack of coordination seems to be the major problem'

Kakinada canal modernisation work in progress at Penuguduru on the outskirts of Kakinada. —Photo: Special Arrangement
Kakinada canal modernisation work in progress at Penuguduru on the outskirts of Kakinada. —Photo: Special Arrangement

The long-pending delta modernisation works are moving at a snail's pace under Kakinada canal, creating confusion among farmers about release of water for the kharif crop. Even as the canal has been closed five months ago and scheduled to be reopened in another six weeks, only 15 per cent of the modernisation works have been completed so far.

As the istration to close either of the two irrigation canals for the rabi crop in November last, the officials and elected representatives had chosen the closure of Kakinada and Mandapeta canals keeping in view of the modernisation project that commenced five years ago.

Bleak scenario

The decision deprived the paddy farmers in 1.64 lakh acres under the two canals, for rabi crop. Modernisation of Mandapeta canal, however, is nearing completion. The modernisation project involved bund strengthening, replacement of age old structures and renovation of drains and it divided into packages for the convenience of the contractors. “In no way the Kakinada canal works will be completed by June 1, as only two bridges and construction of walls have been completed so far,” says Kovvuri Trinadha Reddy, general secretary of the Andhra Pradesh Farmers Water Management Committees Association.

“Lack of coordination between the engineers and the contractor seems to be the major problem. Going by the progress of the works, farmers are worrying about water release for kharif, as they have already lost the rabi crop completely,” says Kakinada Rural MLA K. Kanna Babu.

Chief Engineer P. Gopalakrishna Reddy, when contacted, has said that non-availability of sand is bothering the contractors a lot. “Though the works have begun very late, the progress is good. The contractors sought two long and two short closures of canals for the completion of the works, but they got only one long closure,” he says.

“The works are going on in a way that there will not be any problem for release of water for kharif,” Mr. Reddy says.



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