AMARAVATI: Absence of adequate water supply is posing a serious threat to the chilli and other crops this season in 12 lakh acres in Guntur district. The government had stored water in reservoirs for the Krishna Pushkaralu. Now that the event is over, farmers are urging the government to release the stored water to save crops from drying up. As high of five tmc feet of water had been released in Krishna river for the Pushkaralu, of which two tmc feet has been stored in the reservoir.
According to officials, 6.10 lakh hectares in Guntur district have crops of paddy, chilli, tobacco, pulses etc. Of this, 2.24 lakh hectares is rain-fed and dependents on rainwater while 3.75 lakh hectares on canal waters. The Krishna Western Delta and the tail end areas of Nagarjuna Sagar Right Canal are facing a serious water scarcity. The government proposed rain guns to supply water for irrigation purposes, but the absence of water has become a big hurdle.
Joint director of Agriculture in Guntur, VDA Krupa Das, said the Agriculture department has readied 674 rain guns for use of farmers free of cost to sprinkle water in their farmlands in Guntur district. According to reports, paddy is cultivated only in a few areas this time due to shortage of water, and farmers have instead cultivated chilli and pulses over 12 lakh acres. Guntur chilli is famous in the state/national/ international markets and it got good price in the recent past. So, farmers there opted chilli crop this season, but now they fear drying up of the crop if water is not released in next 10 days.
Farmers of Bapatla, Y Venkateswarlu and others said a majority of the ponds have dried up. So water cannot be borrowed for rain gun usage. As the Pushkaralu is over, the government would do well to release water into the canals from the Prakasam Barrage to save the crops, they said. CPM Guntur district secretary P. Rama Rao has urged the government to release water in view of the dry condition. Agriculture minister P. Pulla Rao said rain-fed and tail-end areas of Krishna western delta are facing water problem and the government was supplying rain guns and sprinklers to farmers to save the crops....