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Tardy work on checkdam irks farmers

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Bleak scenario: A motorist taking risk passing through the incomplete checkdam across Gundlakamma at Ulichi near Ongole. —
Bleak scenario: A motorist taking risk passing through the incomplete checkdam across Gundlakamma at Ulichi near Ongole. —

Special Correspondent

Project across Gundlakamma was taken up in 2004

ONGOLE: Work on the Rs. 8-crore checkdam across Gundlakamma at Ulichi near here remains incomplete even after four years, causing anguish among farmers.

It was the TDP Government that proposed to construct the check-dam to prevent seawater from making Gundlakamma water saline and to supply fresh water to 1,600 acres through lift irrigation scheme upstream.

Credit goes to the Congress Government for taking up the project at an estimated cost of Rs. 4.9 crores soon after coming to power in 2004. As problems dogged the project from the beginning, it could not be put to use even after four years.

The embankment was washed away during floods in 2006, necessitating revision of design.

Even as the design was redrawn, people demanded that the project be used to ensure road connectivity between Ulichi and Ammanabrole for the benefit of six villages. So, the design was changed to provide a road too and the estimates were revised to Rs. 7.9 crores.

Erosion

Work on the check-dam has been completed but the approach roads are not formed. As the floodwaters caused erosion in the embankment and flowed into patta lands, the farmers appealed to the government to take away their land after paying them suitable compensation.

Neither the land was acquired nor work completed on embankment. Floodwaters continued to cause erosion on the left bank and disrupt communication. Officials were taking up temporary repairs using sand bags. They did not even make any arrangements for pumping water to cater to the needs of the envisaged ayacut.

TDP district president and Addanki MLA Karanam Balaramakrishna Murthi, who visited the project on Tuesday, demanded that the government complete the project in all aspects and supply water to farmers without further delay and restore communication between the two sides.


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