Bhadrachalam division lies in neglect
Farmers in Bhadrachalam division are still depending on rain-fed irrigation though as much as Rs 175 crore was spent on various projects to improve irrigation. Irrigation projects hold the key for cultivation of land in five mandals under Bhadrachalam division. Of the total 31,215 hectares in the division, only 27,690 hectares is under cultivation.
Bhadrachalam (Khammam): Farmers in Bhadrachalam division are still depending on rain-fed irrigation though as much as Rs 175 crore was spent on various projects to improve irrigation. Irrigation projects hold the key for cultivation of land in five mandals under Bhadrachalam division. Of the total 31,215 hectares in the division, only 27,690 hectares is under cultivation.
Non-release of funds and lackadaisical attitude on the part of the officials in overseeing the works has led to contractors acting according to their whims and fancies. To irrigate 10,312 acres, Palem Vagu project has been conceived in 2004. Under the project a 13.5 km long canal has been dug in Wajedu mandal.
But, the flood bank of the canal has been washed away twice - once in 2006 and again in 2008. The then Rajasekhara Reddy government faced severe criticism on account of this. But, surprisingly there was no action against those who advised construction of flood bank in spite of heavy inflows and against the contractor for substandard execution of the project revetment works.
The cost of Rs 47 crore of the project escalated to Rs 100.29 crore, yet it remained unfinished. The project spillway developed leakage at the bottom, which the engineering officials passed it off as normal. The project, redesigned in 2007, yet to have its crest gates installed. The lining of the canal has been damaged to a large extent (up to 70 per cent).
In spite of spending Rs 94.80 crore on the project, it still remains incomplete. The official claim of providing irrigation facility to 5,500 acres of the 10,312 acre ayacut is treated with a pinch of salt on the grounds of feasibility. Installation of the crest gates and canals has been executed. Though water is being released through some canals, the farmers are not getting the real benefit.
The Rs124.60 crore Modikunta project, commenced in 2005 near Krishnapuram in Wajedu mandal, still remained unfinished but its cost escalated to Rs 218 crore by 2007. A mobilisation advance of Rs 6 crore has been paid by the State government to the contractor without commencing any work on the project. The project is yet to get Forest Department’s clearance. Meanwhile, the cost of the project escalated to Rs 500 crore.
The Gundlavagu project has been conceived in 1975 in Wajedu mandal at Koppusuru. It was conceived to irrigate 2,850 acres but it hardly irrigates 100 acres. But Rs 30 crore was spent. The leakage of water through earth bund has not been attended to though there has been a budgetary allocation of Rs 25.50 lakh for it. Similarly, Rs 14.30-lakh funds meant for undertaking repairs to canals remained unutilised.
There were eight breaches to the bund up to Gundapuvarre aqueduct from the project site. The problem is attributed to silt formation in sluices causing hinderance to smooth water flow. Talking to The Hans India, local legislator Sunnam Rajaiah felt that the people of the division are facing severe crisis. He demanded release of special funds to take up the project works on a war footing.
BJP Khammam district president Avula Subba Rao expressed concern over State and Central governments neglecting Bhadra-chalam constituency. He alleged crores of rupees being paid as commission. The government is not sincere in ensuring that irrigation projects are completed on time. District Congress official spokesperson Budagam Srinivas claimed that the constituency was developed during the Congress regime and said the present dispensation had ignored the farmers’ woes.