Upset with the State government pressing for mere 27 tmcft water before the Krishna River Management Board, peasants in Prakasam district have decided to go on the warpath demanding at least 50 tmcft to the drought-hit district. As part of their action plan, they have decided to stage a dharna in front of Prakasam Bhavan on November 6.
Farmers in the district could not take up cultivation of crops on a full scale in the last three years due to drought. Now that Srisailam and Nagarjunasagar have a combined storage of over 470 tmcft, the government should ensure release of at least 50 tmcft, says A.P. Rythu Sangham district secretary P. Venkat Rao. Crop in western delta in the district could be saved only if water is released, he said.
The State government’s decision to press for 27 tmcft for Nagarjunasagar Right Bank canal was “untenable” especially when it had put the requirement of Krishna delta for the second crop at 38 tmcft, says Prakasam District Development Forum president Ch.Ranga Rao.
The district, which used to receive a rainfall of 615 mm till October, realised 14 % deficit from Southwest monsoon, according to Chief Planning Officer K.T. Venkaiah.
The crop coverage stagnated at 91% of the normal extent of 2.44 lakh hectares in kharif in view of 64% deficit rainfall in October and it was mere 6% of the 2.97 lakh hectares during rabi so far, says Agriculture Joint Director J. Muralikrishna.
“Climatic conditions are favourable for growing bengal gram in over one lakh hectares and tobacco in 64,000 hectares,” he adds.
Being in the tail end, farmers in the district in the past received water to grow crops only in about 2.50 lakh acres in any given year especially after fall in inflows from the upper riparian State of Karnataka, he explained.
Anticipating depressed market condition, farmers have taken up cultivation of cotton only in 34,500 hectares (60% coverage) and chillies in 16,800 hectares(63% coverage).
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