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Encroachments thwart development at reservoir

Encroachments thwart development at reservoir
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Water bodies in Nellore are not shrinking due to scanty rainfall or collapsed bund system but due to land sharks who do not spare even tanks. 

Nellore: Water bodies in Nellore are not shrinking due to scanty rainfall or collapsed bund system but due to land sharks who do not spare even tanks.

The district administration planned to develop Kanigiri reservoir to attract tourists. Now, it is having only 60-70 per cent of its original area. In fact, 11 tourism projects have been sanctioned to the district under Swadesh Darshan Scheme as part of Coastal Tourism Circuit with Rs. 60.38 crore.

As part of the plans, Pulicat Lake, the Nelapattu Birds sanctuary, the Kothakoduru and Mypadu beaches, Ramatheertham temple and beach, Iskapalli beach, and Krishnapatnam cruise terminal are being developed. B V Palem, Irakkam and Venadu Islands, Atakanitippa are also coming under the scheme.

Boating facility in Kanigiri Reservoir is also proposed for development besides beautification of Nellore tank and walkers’ track for attracting the sightseers. When officials surveyed Kanigiri Reservoir, they found that major chunk of the water body was alienated to private persons by local politicos and their supporters making huge profits.

“Around 2,500-3,000 acres of lands of the reservoir were encroached by the local people. Cost of each acre in market is between Rs. 9 to 10 lakh. Some officials were also part of the scam,” said a senior official on the condition of anonymity.

These encroached lands located in Sangam and Buchireddy Palem mandals. The official added that the encroachers were giving the lands to local farmers on lease basis collecting Rs. 10,000-15,000 per acre per annum.

The Reservoir was constructed during the British Era by Sir Arthur Cotton depending on releases from Somiasila Reservoir which has been providing water for Kovur, Buchi, Sangam, Kodavaluru, Dagadarthi, part of Vidavalur and Allur mandals. Due to scanty rainfall, major part of area was not getting water and the land sharks eyed on the unused lands and they started encroaching the lands.

“This kind of encroachments have been affecting development in many places. Similar is the situation in Nellore where its ayacut reduced significantly due to encroachments. Senior revenue officials have to focus on the issues for protecting these lands from the clutches of land sharks,” said an official from Irrigation department.

By PV Prasad

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