Aqua ponds mushroom without permission
Threat to food safety is looming large over West Godavari district which was once considered as rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh
Akiveedu/ Bhimavaram: Threat to food safety is looming large over West Godavari district which was once considered as rice bowl of Andhra Pradesh.
The paddy farmers are an unhappy lot in the district as fish ponds flourish, with the support from a few people’s representatives.
As the water in aqua ponds is known for salinity, the adjacent farm lands are giving less harvest.
As against five lakh acres of aqua ponds, the farm lands account for eight lakh acres. The drop in paddy yield is being attributed to salinity in near-by aqua ponds.
While elite class farmers are bent on aqua farming, the small and marginal farmers are not in a position to invest in fish ponds.
In spite of drop in paddy yield, these farmers have been forced to continue in paddy farming for want of money.
Interestingly, there has been substantial rise in digging of aqua ponds at the cost of paddy yield, which is sending jitters to the farmers depended on paddy cultivation.
If the trend continues, it will lead to crisis of food safety, farmers predict.
Meanwhile, banking on the reluctance of revenue, police, fisheries and mines departments, new aqua ponds are being dug in Kalla mandal.
The illegal transportation of soil is going unchecked. On the other hand, fertile lands have been converted into layouts to boost real estate business.
To quote an example, the land in rear side of Santa Market is being converted into fish ponds.
The earth removed in the process is being shifted en route Tahsildar office without permission from mines department.
At Doddanapudi, area adjacent to canal bund, is being converted into illegal layout which will later be sold as flats or apartments ventures.
Though the government stopped giving permission to new aqua ponds in the wake of rise in agitations by people in many villages over polluting groundwater, there is no check to mushrooming aqua ponds.