Experts say, 42% of the 3,772 minor irrigation tanks of Karnataka to remain dry
Out of 79 major canal works under different irrigation projects across the state only 5 have been completed.
BENGALURU: According to the irrigation experts, the repeated man-made floods like the ones that occurred in Kodagu and Kerala the previous year is not ruled out.
Capt S Raja Rao, former minor irrigation secretary and water expert had said that, "The government slept on pending operation and maintenance (O&M) works of village tanks and other water bodies. It wasted precious time before the onset of the monsoon and now it is too late to even salvage the situation."
A progress report from the Karnataka Neeravari Nigama Limited (KNNL) says that, out of 79 major canal works under different irrigation projects across the state only 5 have been completed. Government records reveal 42% of the state which is 3,772 minor irrigation tanks, covering a total achkat area of 4.16 hectares, will be remaining dry even after one month of good monsoon rain.
Himanshu Thakkar, coordinator of South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers & People said, "The other area where the government has failed completely is the preservation of catchment area of lakes. The catchment area of almost all lakes has been destroyed due to various reasons including encroachment and government negligence. Without the protected catchment area the lakes will not survive. The catchment area should be preserved in such a way that rainwater should percolate into the ground besides filling tanks. There has been no such effort from the government."
"The Election Commission relaxed the model code of conduct only a week ago. We are now prepared with the action plan and work will begin by mid-June," said C Mruthyunjaya Swamy, minor irrigation secretary.
Similar situation was faced by the state last year as the model code of conduct for the assembly elections was in place. It resulted in unnatural floods in Kodagu, however, the state received less than normal rainfall. The water released from KRS and Kabini dams had inundated agricultural fields, as they could not reach the lakes.