- First time in half a century
- Hits agrarian economy in many dists
- Motor vehicles ply across the dry river bed
Speaking to The Hans India, Rajanna, a farmer of Bela, said: ``I used to cultivate eight acres of land when there was plenty of water in the river. I raised crop in half acre of land only this season. I am not sure of reaping a good harvest as the crop is withering due to lack of irrigation water. I never saw the mighty Godavari river empty in the past. The dried up river has resulted in acute drought in the area.’’
Another farmer Swamy echoed the same view, highlighting the plight of farmers who are totally dependent on the river for irrigation.Mallesh of another village said: ``There is acute scarcity of drinking water in the area. Lack of water in the river has hit the livestock badly. They do not have sufficient green grass on the river banks. Non-availability of clean drinking water for livestock has become a major problem.’’
Mahesh, a shepherd, said: ``I sold some of my sheep unable to feed them properly. Shepherds are forced to trek long distances along with their herds to find green pastures. The available grass is not sufficient to feed the total herd. Due to lack of water in the river, livestock are falling sick after consuming contaminated water found in pits.''
Washer men, boatmen and fishermen who are continuing their age old professions by depending on the perennial river, have been rendered jobless. Agricultural labourers have migrated to nearby towns in search of livelihood. There is no water for pilgrims visiting the shrines on the banks of Godavari to take a holy dip.
All the people living in the region are affected in one way or the other due to drying up of the mighty river. If the region fails to receive good monsoon in the ensuing season, the whole economy will be further affected. An irrigation expert is of the view that construction of a barrage across the river at Bellala will help overcome this kind of water crisis in future.