HYDERABAD: Telangana state government’s flagship drinking water project ‘Mission Bhagiratha’ has been causing a water war in districts, thanks to deficit rainfall for the past two months. Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP) has become a war zone with clashes between police and farmers since the past three days. Farmers have been demanding to release water from the project to save their standing crops from withering away but officials have been rejecting this on the ground of maintaining minimum level in dam for Mission Bhagiratha. Though 16TMC of water is available in the dam, the officials are not heeding to the farmers’ demand to release 0.5 TMC water to save crops.
The government issued instructions to officials of irrigation department in all districts, to maintain minimum water levels in all dams, to ensure water supply for Mission Bhagiratha. Farmers are on a warpath demanding that available water be released from dams to save their standing crops as there has been no adequate rain since two months. However, officials expressed helplessness to do so as they are mandated to ensure water for Mission Bhagiratha first.
Projects in Krishna and Godavari basins have only minimum water-levels at present. Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao had fixed August 15 as the deadline for Mission Bhagiratha water to reach all villages and officials stopped water release for agricultural purposes to meet this goal which has now become a bone of contention between farmers and the government.
Mr Rao held two review meetings with ministers and senior officials in July, instructing them that the Minimum Draw Down Level (MDDL) should be maintained in all projects. “Only after ensuring sufficient water for drinking purposes, water for irrigation should be released and orders are to be issued accordingly,” the CM had ordered.
To meet the CM’s deadline of August 15, the Irrigation Department officials have been diverting water to Mission Bhagiratha. “Due to scanty rainfall, water levels in irrigation projects are at lower levels. Even available reserves are due to rains in upstream states and not due to rainfall here. If water is released to agriculture at this stage, Mission Bhagiratha project will be hit,” officials said....