Water scarcity stares at paddy farmers in delta

Water scarcity stares at paddy farmers in delta
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Highlights

The explosion of a firecracker with a deafening sound and subsequently thick white smoke enveloping the area near Annarao circle in the city on Wednesday triggered panic in the locality. The bursting of the firecracker which was believed to be a crudely made one by a clandestine manufacturer engaged in illegal production of firecrackers.Farmers in East Godavari district.

  • Farmers have taken up plantations late in nearly 2 lakh acres
  • They require more water now
  • Following assurances given by political leaders, they have gone for paddy cultivation
  • They are expected to secure an yield of only 15 bags per acre
  • Prospects are brighter for farmers who cultivated pulses

Rajahmundry: Farmers in East Godavari district are worried over the water availability for the rabi crop as there are clear indications that it is not possible to provide water completely for the season. Farmers in the district resorted to late plantation this season nearly in two lakh acres and those who took up plantations late are in a grip of fear over the yield as they need more water from this point of time. Irrigation authorities have suggested to the farmers before beginning of the season that it is better to go for pulses in one lakh acres this season as water scarcity is looming large.

Then who are the culprits for this fragile situation. Farmers are blaming it on politicians. Though the irrigation authorities have made it clear that irrigating full ayacut is not possible for rabi season, political leaders have assured the farmers that they would take steps to provide water completely and farmers took up plantations by trusting the political leaders. Some farmers are blaming it on Pattiseema project for the non-availability of water for Godavari delta.

The total ayacut in East Godavari district is about 4.36 lakh acres whereas the cultivation has been taken up in 4.09 lakh acres and farmers opted for pulses in 27,000 acres. Normally, 90 tmcft of water is needed to cater to irrigation as well as drinking water needs in the district. But, irrigation authorities are making efforts to manage with only 80 tmcft of water which is available from River Godavari including 24 tmcft of self-yield, 45 tmcft from Sileru, 2 tmcft from cross bunds on drains and 2 tmcft of from lifting water from Godavari and the requirement is falling short by 7 tmcft.

As Assembly elections are fast approaching in Odisha, the government there is not willing to release water to Sileru and at the same time AP used more water than that is due during the last rabi season and Godavari Pushkaralu. General Secretary, Bharathiya Kisan Sangh, Muthyala Jameel, expressed concern over the plight of farmers in the rabi season. He explained that late plantation took place in the district in nearly two lakh acres and farmers require more water at this stage which is not possible.

“Political leaders made false promises to farmers that they would talk to Odisha government and farmers trusted their words and went for plantations even in upland,” he said. Jameel mentioned that most of the farmers in the district have very small holdings and there is no uniformity in plantation. He also blamed the government for drawing water through Pattiseema project which has made the situation worse for the delta farmers.

Dr Uppuganti Bhaskar Rao, a farmer from Amalapuram, said that they have asked the farmers in uplands and tail-end areas to go for pulses, but farmers went for plantation of paddy by trusting the politicians and future of farmers in two lakh acres is in dire straits. He maintained that farmers who went for late plantation might secure an yield of only 15 bags per acre and there is also a threat of losing the entire crop.

But, he said that some ryots trusted politicians and did not heed the suggestions made by farmers as well as by the irrigation authorities. Ryots who went for pulses this season are in good position. Superintending Engineer, Dowlaiswaram irrigation Circle, Sugunakar Rao said, “We are making efforts to provide the required water to ayacut and we are in consultations with the Odisha officials at executive level.”

He said all measures were being taken to ensure that that there would be no scarcity for drinking water. Meanwhile, a farmer, Marisetty Satyanarayana, committed suicide in Katrenikona mandal in East Godavari on February 14. He was a tenant farmer who was cultivating in 18 acres. Unable to pay dues to the tune of Rs 1 lakh to agriculture workers, he committed suicide. The suicide of the farmer is an indication of the gloomy situation in Godavari delta.

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