Drop in availability of water in the canal in the past week has affected transplantation of paddy
Sowing of paddy for the summer crop has been delayed, especially in the tail-end of the command area under the Tungabhadra Left Bank Canal (TLBC) owing to a fall in the water-level in the lower reaches of the canal.
The Tungabhadra reservoir has ample water this year, facilitating smooth sowing of paddy in in Gangavathi taluk in Koppal district and Sindhanur, Manvi and Raichur taluks in Raichur district. At present, the water-level in the reservoir is about 82.73 tmcft, which will suffice till the harvesting of summer crops.
During its meeting held in November, the Tungabahdra Irrigation Consultative Committee (ICC) announced that discharge at the rate of 3,600 cusecs would be maintained from January 1 till the end of March. Accordingly, the Irrigation Central Zone of Munirabad maintained the discharge level till last week. However, the availability of water in the tail-end region has come down in the past week. There are reports that farmers in the upper command area in Gangavathi taluk have drawn excessive water. This has adversely affected the paddy transplantation in the tail-end areas. So far, the transplantation in Sindhanur, Manvi and Raichur taluks has been completed on about 20 per cent of the targeted 67,000 hectares.
Further delay will force farmers to demand extension of adequate water supply in the canal beyond March.
According to N.S. Bose Raju, former chairman of the Tungabahdra Command Area Development Authority, the department should maintain 12-ft level of water at the 47th mile stretch of the TLBC whereas the water gauge in command area has come down to 11.4 ft. The water-level at 69th mile should have been maintained at 9 ft compared to the present 8.4 ft. The water-level at the 104th mile has come down to 2 ft as against the normal 6 ft. Mr. Raju told The Hindu that the department had failed to curb the unauthorised drawing of water by the upper reach farmers. The affected farmers might have to protest if the department failed to address the problem immediately, he said.