KAKINADA: Water levels in the River Godavari are going down due to reduced inflows, causing concern over the second crop. Water is not reaching tail-end fields in the command area and farmers are worried their crops would perish.
They note that water is must at this stage to grow the paddy plants. Unless there is sufficient water, the farmers would incur heavy losses.
According to sources, some 1,52,587 acres of command area is under paddy cultivation during the Rabi season in Godavari Delta of East Godavari. Of these, crop over 1474 hectares is feared to perish due to lack of water.
Officials were of the view that there might not be any water scarcity for the crop as the river received heavy inflows this year due to floods and cyclones. However, all of a sudden, the water levels are going down. Hence, irrigation officials are arranging for flow of water from Sileru reservoir.
Yet, the water is not reaching the tail-end fields and the farmers are worried. Irrigation department’s Dowleswaram circle superintendent, engineer D. Sriramakrishna, said only 3,500 cusecs of water was available in Godavari. Some 4,000 to 5,000 cusecs is being discharged from Sileru reservoir since January 10. But, due to technical reasons, the discharge of water from Sileru had stopped for the past five days.
The discharge from Sileru started now and 5,000 cusecs of water is thus being released to canals for the paddy crop.
He said steps are being taken for increasing the discharge by up to 6,000 cusecs per day from Saturday. The paddy fields are facing water scarcity in Karapa, Kajuluru, Katrenikona, Uppalaguptam, Sakhinetipalli, Razone and Mamidikuduru mandals. Farmers urged the officials to give priority to them in order to save the crop. They are also appealing to the state government to develop cross bunds and remove weeds in the canals.
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh leader M. Sriram (Jameel) said that the farmers are pleading with the government to remove the weeds every year and also sought proper maintenance of the canals to ensure free-flow of water to the fields. But, the government is not doing enough.
Water not reaching the tail-end is a regular problem. Unless the government improved the canal system and developed cross bunds during the summer, as the canals will be closed early on March 31, the problem would persist, he said.
Agriculture minister Kurasala Kannababu said officials should monitor water availability, protect the water sources, coordinate matters with the agriculture, irrigation and revenue departments from time to time and release water to the crops.
He said Laskars should supervise the canals round-the-clock and take action against farmers illegally lifting water with own motors. He advised the joint director of agriculture to collect information from villages and take steps to sort out the farmers’ issues.