Andhra Pradesh

Water a scarce commodity in Prakasam village

Rajugari well goes bone dry in view of scanty rainfall for the fifth year in Konijedu village .   | Photo Credit: KommuriSrinivas

Sixty-five-year-old Subba Rao from Konijedu village, which has been gripped by drought for the fifth consecutive year, waits for his turn for undergoing joint knee replacement surgery at the TTD’s Balaji Institute for Surgery, Research and Rehabilitation of the Disabled (BIRRD) Hospital.

So is the case with 70-year-old Subbaiah, who has registered his name with the BIRRD as he suffered from chronic joint pain after drinking unsafe water, as almost all water sources had dried up in the village, which used to be brimming with water enabling farmers to grow two crops a year. At least one person in every household suffers from acute joint pain in the absence of safe drinking water, and they wait for their turn for joint replacement either at BIRRD or at the Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences here, by getting assistance under the Chief Minister's Relief Fund, as the procedure is not covered under the NTR Aarogyasri scheme. Standing in the queue at a water kiosk with plastic card on his hand to buy water, a group of persons says: “We never imagined that one day we will be forced to buy water, as ours was a flourishing village some decades ago.”The water level in the two borewells catering to the two RO plants is also on the verge of getting exhausted any time as the southwest monsoon played truant this year too, laments a resident R. Lakshmikantham, who has sought assistance from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for undergoing knee joint replacement.

Only recently, a fresh borewell was sunk as the existing one had became dysfunctional.

A majority of the people from the village with a population of 4,000 are forced to travel miles together for a few pots of water, as they cannot afford to buy the precious liquid. “Leave alone growing crops, we are finding it difficult to manage a few pots of safe drinking water,” explains another resident T. Prasad Rao.

Thanks to indiscriminate sinking of borewells and climate change, almost all the borewells had gone bone dry, they say while pleading for extension of the Ongole Branch Canal (OBC) of the Nagarjunsagar Right Bank canal to their village to fill up the water tank, which surplussed in 2010 when Prakasam coast was struck by cyclonic storm Laila.

Tangutur and 21 other mandals received scanty rainfall so far, while 29 other mandals received deficit rainfall, according to Agriculture Joint Director P.V. Sriramamurthy said. Crop coverage was a mere 51,500 hectares as against 87,000 hectares during the corresponding period last year, he says.

The district as a whole received 81 mm rainfall so far as against the normal rainfall of 164 mm during the period, he adds.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2021 6:14:44 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/water-a-scarce-commodity-in-prakasam-village/article24636956.ece

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