Farmers affected as power supply stopped to farms near Baje reservoir

Farmers affected as power supply stopped to farms near Baje reservoir

The decision by the Udupi City Municipal Corporation (CMC) and the district administration to disconnect power supply to pump sets and water supply to farm fields in and round Baje reservoir area from January 1 has disturbed the livelihood of the farmers.

There are nearly 73 farmer families that are solely dependent on the agriculture around the backwaters of Baje reservoir. Around 68 pump sets work, of which 27 are on the right side and 41 are on the left side of the river bank. The horsepower of these pump sets is 359 HP. There are 11,769 coconut trees, 44,639 arecanut trees, 17,850 plantain and paddy are grown in 180.80 acre of land and vegetables are grown in 6.37 acre of area.

Udupi Zilla Krishika Sangha president Ramakrishna Bantakallu said the farmers are solely dependent on pump sets to draw water as the water level in the region is deep. Initially, water was rationed for farmers in the area from around March and was provided in a phased manner. Rationing of water was started from 2007. However, water was not completely stopped. But currently, water supply and power supply has been stopped all of sudden without informing the farmers, he said.

Srinivas Nayak from Puttige, who owns three acres of farm field where he cultivates areca nut and coconut, told DH that farming is the only source of livelihood for the farmers in the area. But the CMC’s decision will be detrimental and massively affect the source of revenue of the farmers.

Srinivas Kulal, who owns six acres of farm land and grows paddy in three acres, said the farmers cannot take up farming in rainy season as the region will be submerged. The period from October to March is crucial for the farmers who can grow better yields.
Padbhanabaha Prabhu said he owns two acres of agriculture land and the water supply has been stopped when the farmers are in urgent need of water.

Shivaram Shetty said he has five acres of farm land where he grows paddy. “We were told to cut short the growths and now the farmers grow only single yield.” Besides, farmers were asked to make judicious use of water. He said that all the farmers have been kept in dark.

Udupi Zilla Krishika Sangha general secretary Srinivas Bhat Kudi said the water rationing will begin from April. Water will be supplied two times a week in April and in May, water will be provided once in a week. But the sudden decision has come in as a big surprise, he said.

“If the district administration and the CMC fail to lift the ban, the farmers will a stage protest and lay seige to the pump sets used to draw water at Baje and Shiroor reservoirs. The decision of CMC is unscientific,” he said.

Bhat said the CMC has also failed to take up drudging in the area to desilt the sludge. He said, “Let the administration follow the method of rationing water which was followed in previous years. Let them take scientific measures to stop the leakages in the reservoirs at Baje and Mane.”