Canal water shortage irks farmers

Farmers under the Varuna Canal achcut (check dam) said, there are 78,000 acres of land under irrigation of the canal, but water was released only after they held protests. (DH file photo for representation)

Even though excess waters have been released to Tamil Nadu, from both Krishnaraja Sagar and Kabini dams, no water has been released to the canals, irking the farmers.

Farmers under the Varuna Canal achcut (check dam) said, there are 78,000 acres of land under irrigation of the canal, but water was released only after they held protests. "Even though the dams have filled to the brim, the Irrigation department officials are releasing the water on 'on and off' system. Besides, notices have been issued to farmers not to cultivate water-intensive crops like paddy or sugarcane," they said.

In some villages, the staff of the Irrigation department were taken to task, when they came to issue the notices. Most of the farmers have not grown any crop since two years, due to drought over the past four years.

"Two years ago, when water was released in the Varuna Canal, farmers sowed paddy. But, water was stopped after some time, resulting in loss to farmers. Now, the water situation seems hopeful, but the officials are not taking a favourable decision," said farmers.

"Besides, the sub-canals of Varuna are filled with silt and weeds, choking the flow of water. This shows the neglect of the officials," they complain.

Executive Engineer J Prakash said, the annual grants for the maintenance of Varuna Canal is Rs 40 lakh. "With available funds, we are clearing the canals of silt and weeds and are also strengthening the lining," he said.

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