KARNATAKA

Bhadra reservoir: concern over low water-level

S.A. Ravindranath, Minister for Horticulture and in charge of the district, said on Tuesday that going by the present water-level in Bhadra reservoir, there might be a shortage of 5 tmcft water to feed the entire command area. In order to provide water to all farmers, despite the 5 tmcft shortfall, Mr. Ravindranath appealed to Irrigation Minister Basavaraj Bommai to convene a meeting of irrigation experts and discuss how to make judicious use of the available water and tide over the situation.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, Mr. Ravindranath said that 6 tmcft of the 32 tmcft water available in the reservoir had to be kept aside for drinking water supply and a few industries on the river banks.

Meeting held

The shortage of 5 tmcft came to light during a discussion he had with the officials of the Irrigation Department. He expressed hopes that Mr. Bommai would soon convene a meeting of irrigation experts and senior officials of the Irrigation Department and come out with a proper solution.

A few farmer leaders, who were unaware of the situation in the upper reaches, had staged a demonstration outside the Irrigation Department office recently, urging the Command Area Development Authority (CADA) to release water to the canals from January 20 and not January 1.

Upper reaches

Farmers in the upper reaches like Shimoga were in need of water right now for horticultural crops like arecanut. Therefore, the CADA had decided to release water into canals in the first stage from January 1. He said that he would ask the Irrigation Department officials to tell the farmers about the prevailing situation.

Efforts

Efforts were on to provide water to farmers in the command area at an appropriate time. Mr. Ravindranath said that Bhadra waters was for semi-dry crops like groundnut and not wet crops like paddy.

Problem

Farmers in the command area were facing shortage of water because they had made it a habit to cultivate only paddy during summer to earn more income, he said.

A.H. Shivayogiswamy, Chief Whip in the Legislative Council was present.



Shortage of about 5 tmcft water likely to hit farmers in command area

Steps will be taken to release water to command area at an appropriate time, says Minister