Staff Correspondent

8tcmft was released under pressure from policians, industrialists: Farmers

DAVANGERE: The Davangere unit of the Bharatiya Raitha Okkuta protested against irrigation officials letting out over 8 tmcft (thousand million cubic feet) of water flow into the Tungabhadra from the Bhadra reservoir in the past few months.

Talking to presspersons here on Thursday, Shanbhog Nagaraj and Lingaraju, office-bearers of the organisation, alleged that irrigation officials, succumbing to pressure from industrialists and politicians, had released water from the reservoir into the river in order to cater for the needs of riverside industries. The irrigation authorities had let out the water under the pretext of providing drinking water to the people of Gadag and Bellary and devotees attending the Milara jatre, they said.

Mr. Nagaraj urged the Government to initiate an inquiry and prevent officials from releasing water according to their whims and fancies.

Releasing 1 tmcft of water during religious functions and to provide drinking water to places downstream was the conventional practice, Mr. Nagaraj said, but never had 8 tmcft of water been released. Fortunately, good rainfall had occurred of late in the Bhadra catchments causing the water-level in the Bhadra reservoir to reach 161 feet. If there had been less rainfall, Mr. Nagaraj said, farmers of the Bhadra achkut would have been deprived of water.

The organisation opposed the decision of the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) to restrict the cultivation of paddy in the achkut. The organisation demanded that CADA hold its meetings in Davangere as over 70 per cent of the Bhadra achkut falls in the district.

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