Hubbali: Maharashtra’s move to release more than 15 tmcft water every day from Koyna dam has not only enhanced the threat of floods in Krishna river basin but also irked leaders of various organizations as excess water has damaged crops in Belagavi, Bagalkot and other districts of north Karnataka.
These leaders contend that Maharashtra had failed to release 4 tmcft water sought by Karnataka when people of the region were reeling under severe scarcity of drinking water during summer.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra has appealed the state to restrict storage of water in Almatti dam to 518 metres as against its full capacity of 519.6 metres as it fears that the backwaters will affect many parts of Miraj and Sangli in Maharashtra if the dam fills to its brim.
On Saturday, the inflow in Almatti dam increased to 2.22 lakh cusecs and officials are releasing more than equal quantum of water.
If the release of water from the dam is continued, the flood situation will be continued to grim in the villages on the banks of river Krishna downstream of the Narayanpur dam in Raichur and Yadgir districts.
Otherwise, the backwaters of Almatti dam will flood the villages in Belagavi and Bagalkot district if the storage of water level in the dam is increased. The similar situation in 2005 had caused flood in Chikkodi, Athani and Raibag taluks of Belagavi district, causing losses to the tune of Rs 130 crores.
Therefore, Maharashtra’s move to release large quantum of water during monsoon and its failure to fulfill Karnataka’s plea to release 4 tmc of water in summer has evoked sharp criticism from the Congress leaders in the region.
“Maharashtra has been creating confusion in release of water from Koyna dam. There is no substance in its contention that storage of more water in Almatti dam will affect villages of the neighbouring State. We have the right to raise the dam height to 524 meters to store more water as per the second Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal award”, Congress leader and former water resource minister M B Patil told press persons in Vijayapur on Saturday.
Meanwhile, incessant rain lashed Belagavi city and storm water entered into several houses in low-lying areas. Chikkodi sub-division assistant commissioner Ravi Karlingannavar said Athani, Chikkodi and Raibag are affected due to increase in water flow in Krishna river and its tributaries of Doodhganga, Vedganga and Panchaganga. “Maharashtra did not release water from Koyna dam to meet drinking water needs of our region despite repeated pleas by Karnataka just two months ago. Our drought-hit farmers had left in lurch as it had sticked to ‘water-for-water’ exchange agreement. Now, the neighboring State has adopted double standard by releasing large quantum of water, causing loss to our people”, Kannada activist Ashok Chandaragi said.