Farmers under the banner of the Andhra Pradesh Rythu Sangham (APRS) staged a demonstration in front of the Ongole Mandal Revenue Office here on Thursday, demanding urgent completion of repairs to the crest gates of Obul Reddy Gundalakamma reservoir.
Leading the protest, APRS State general secretary K.V.V. Prasad said a year had passed since the gates developed a snag following flash foods. Yet the repairs costing about ₹2.50 crore had not been taken up by the YSR Congress Party government, resulting in about 3 tmc of water going unutilised into the sea, added its Prakasam district general secretary Vadde Hanuma Reddy. They exhorted the government to carry out repairs to gates on a war footing to enable farmers to grow crops at least during this rabi season.
Samyukta Kisan Morcha Prakasam district convenor Ch. Ranga Rao lamented that the farmers in drought-prone Prakasam district could not take up cultivation of crops in 60,000 acres during khariff and 80,000 acres during rabi last year. It was unfortunate that the Jagan Mohan Reddy government neglected even the minimum maintenance of irrigation projects, putting to severe hardship on the farmers in the arid district, he charged.
‘’The livelihood of farmers and farm workers is at stake with no scope for raising crops during this winter also,” added Acharya N.G. Ranga Kisan Samatha general secretary Ch. Seshaiah.
Denizens in Ongole city, which has been allotted 0.80 tmc water for drinking water purposes from the reservoir, faced acute water shortage, said Communist Party of India Ongole general secretary P.V.R. Choudhary.