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Farmers at their wits end as storage in Gundalakamma reservoir gets depleted

Water discharged to facilitate repairs to crest gates

September 13, 2022 07:20 pm | Updated 07:20 pm IST - ONGOLE

A view of the depleted Gundalakamma reservoir in Prakasam district.

A view of the depleted Gundalakamma reservoir in Prakasam district. | Photo Credit: KOMMURI SRINIVAS

Farmers coming under the Kandula Obul Reddy Gundalakamma reservoir at Mallavaram are keeping their fingers crossed following discharge of water from the reservoir to facilitate repairs to the damaged crest gates.

The ryots were happy when the reservoir filled up in the early phase of the southwest monsoon season as they hoped that they could grow, among other crops, cotton, chilli and pulses with the available water. Now they are ruing their fate as the irrigation authorities let out over 3 tmcft to take up immediate repairs to 10 gates.

The reservoir used to get filled up four to five times a year to enable farmers to grow crops in 62,368 acres in kharif and 80,060 acres in rabi with 12.845 tmcft of water and also meet the drinking water needs of 2.56 lakh people in 43 villages en route and Ongole city.

Now the ryots fear water shortage during the middle of the season. They are also worried whether they will be able to grow winter crops during rabi as the storage in the reservoir has come down to 1.56 tmcft as against its full capacity of 3.86 tmcft.

A group of peasants in Vellampalli village said it was unfortunate that the authorities had not paid attention to periodic overhauling of gates. As a result one of the gates got washed away following heavy inflows recently.

''The State government seems to have not learnt any lessons from the flash floods caused last year due to breach to the Annamayya project,'' lamented Samyukta Kisan Morcha Prakasam district convener Ch. Ranga Rao.

The irrigation officials here have submitted a Rs.88-lakh proposal to their higher-ups for carrying out repairs on a war-footing.

''Now work is going on in full swing. We will leave no stone unturned and complete the same within a month or so,'' they said.

Fortunately, the storage in the reservoir increased to 44% of its capacity on Tuesday when the reservoir had an inflow of about 2,000 cusecs.

The farmers pleaded with the Government to diversion Krishna water to Gundalakamma reservoir to save their crops.

On the other hand, the fisherfolk who bid for the fishing rights sought compensation for the loss of revenue as fully grown fish were washed away along with the discharged water. More than 200 families had suffered losses, said a community elder Rama Rao.

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