Water released from Maharashtra floods fields in Belagavi

Farmers fear damage to their crops and harm to livestock; rain in district adds to their worries. Kannada federation to write to Chief Minister about their concerns

Published - August 02, 2019 12:34 am IST

4. The district administration used boats to rescue farmers stranded in Ingali village in Belagavi district on Thursday

4. The district administration used boats to rescue farmers stranded in Ingali village in Belagavi district on Thursday

Maharashtra has released water at the rate of 1.64 lakh cusecs from various reservoirs in the Krishna river following heavy rains in that State. Water entered Belagavi district through the Rajapur dam, on the border of Karnataka and Maharashtra, on Thursday morning.

The release, coupled with heavy rains in Belagavi district, led to increased levels of water in the Krishna. Water entered some fields on the riverbanks, but there were no casualties. The total release was measured by gauging stations in seven places, including Rajapur. The total quantum includes the amount released into the tributaries of the Krishna, such as the Doodh Ganga, officials said.

In Chikkodi, the taluk administration used boats to rescue eight families of farmers stranded in their farmhouse near the river in Ingali village. Fishermen rescued Gajanan Koli, a youth who was caught in the currents in Ingali village. Farms in Chikkodi, Ingali, Ankali, Benakanahalli, Sulebavi and surrounding villages were flooded. Water began to flow over 14 bridges and barrages.

“We are monitoring the situation closely. We are in constant touch with Maharashtra officials,” said Ravindra Karilingannanavar, Assistant Commissioner.

Sidagouda Motagi, a farmers’ leader, said water had entered fields in several villages, damaging thousands of acres of crops. “Farmers are living in fear of losing their crops and cattle. Bridges are submerged in several villages and students cannot go to schools and colleges. But the district administration is not taking the situation seriously,” he said.

Ashok Chandaragi, convener of the federation of Kannada organisations, said they were writing to Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa . “When north Karnataka was suffering from a severe drought, the Maharashtra government did not release any water. They insisted on a ‘water-for-water’ agreement. But now, they are releasing, without informing us in advance. In 2005, when they released water suddenly, there was flooding in the Krishna that led to huge losses. Mr. Yediyurappa should talk to his Maharashtra counterpart about this,” he said.

“We have learnt that senior officials in Maharashtra have told their irrigation officials about a possible release of water from Koyna dam. But there has been no release from Koyna as yet,” a senior irrigation officer in Belagavi told The Hindu . “Water released from Koyna takes around three days to enter Belagavi district. We have alerted our field staff about it. We hope to receive official communication from Maharashtra before release from Koyna,” said the engineer.

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