Tank dries up, shatters farmers' dreams

Hopes of a bumper paddy crop belied as Bhyrasagara goes barren

Disastrous: The Bhyrasagara tank of Gudibande, one of the largest in Chikkaballapur district, has gone dry, preventing farmers from undertaking agricultural activities this year.. DH Photo

The desiccation of the tank has had a disastrous effect on agriculture.

Paddy, grown on hundreds of acres in the tank’s command area, needed a couple of rounds of irrigation, before it could be harvested. Without the final rounds of irrigation, the paddy is drying up, and the petrified farmers are praying for an early monsoon that would provide the standing crops the moisture that they need.

Remembering what was

Amani Bhyrasagara, once filled to the brim, could support at least two crops in its command area.

The land irrigated by the tank always produced bumper paddy crops, earning the taluk the title of a rice bowl.

The fame and popularity of ‘Dillibhoga’, the paddy variety specific to the area, transcended the boundaries of the district.

The citizens of Gudibande are now worried that the Bhyrasagara tank and its bounties could soon be just memories.

With water let out recently to irrigate paddy, the tank of today is an empty cavern, with the tank bed visible.

The alarm signs for the tank were noticed in the recent past, with the huge water body not surplusing (overflowing) over the last two years.

Earlier this year, officers of the Department of Agriculture had refused permission to the farmers to grow a rice crop in the region.

Later, caving in under pressure, the officers agreed to let water to the fields in limited quantities, but on the condition that the farmers grow only short-term crops.

Fishery contractors score

As soon as the permission was given to let water out of the tank, fishery contractors camped on the banks of the tank with nets, to harvest the fish.
Over a week, they caught dozens of quintals of excellent fish that netted them handsome profits.

The contractors are laughing all the way to the bank.

Rain plays hide-and-seek

With short spells of rain raising hopes, farmers gambled and sowed rice on a span of 2.5 thousand acres of land.

However, farmres optimism has been dented by the recent dry spell. If there is no rain in the next few days, paddy crop worth crores of rupees is expected to go dry. Growers are despondent.

“We had sown the seeds and grown the crops by borrowing loans. Now, how will we repay the lenders?” ask Ramappa, Narasimhappa, Venkatarayappa, Aziz, Ibrahim and other farmers of Gudibande taluk.

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