The lack of accountability and coordination among the irrigation engineers managing the distribution of Tungabhadra and Krishna water, through High-Level Canal (HLC) and Hundri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi (HNSS), came up for severe criticism from the MLAs at the IAB, as the tail-end areas are still not getting water despite the quantum almost getting doubled from 2012.
That the Agriculture, Irrigation, Horticulture, and Revenue Departments were not acting in concert came out very clearly, with none approaching agriculture and irrigation holistically to ensure proper distribution of about 60 tmcft of water likely to be received this year.
The meeting again failed to give a clear roadmap for the release of water with specific dates and quantum to different canals and reservoirs/irrigation tanks. There was lack of ground-level coordination among the Agriculture Department officials to pin-pointedly tell the Irrigation Advisory Board(IAB) meeting as to which soils were suitable only for paddy and in which alternate irrigated dry crops could be raised. There was also no coordination between farmers and the officials.
Anantapur Urban MLA Anantha Venkatarami Reddy recalled that before the HNSS water came to the district, Anantapur used to have only 25 tmcft at the maximum and for the past two years, the district received 55-60 tmcft, but the irrigation in the disadvantaged areas remained hit even today.
The HLC Superintending Engineer Nayakanti Rajasekhar said survey work for the proposed Guntakal Reservoir was pending due to lack of funds from the government, though the project has administrative sanction. “If this project is completed, the excess flood water coming from Tungabhadra could have been stored,” said Guntakal MLA Yellareddygari Venkatarami Reddy said.
District Collector Gandham Chandrudu, who chaired the meeting in the presence of Roads and Buildings Minister Malagundla Sankaranarayana and Government Whip Kapu Ramachandra Reddy, asked the HNSS and HLC Engineers to immediately prepare an action plan for the steps to be taken to ensure 10 tmcft of Tungabhadra Water was totally tapped in addition to district’s share of 29.98 tmcft through the HLC.
Singanamala MLA Jonnalagadda Padmavathi wanted the share of 10 tmcft of drinking water for the district to be distributed evenly between the HLC and HNSS sources so that some more ayacut under HLC could be given water.
The meeting also decided to write to the government to ensure the modernisation of the HLC canal (to increase capacity to 4,000 cusecs from current 2,200 cusecs), which has been stopped, and widening of the HNSS Canal to at least 10,000 cusecs carrying capacity be taken up at the earliest to tap available floodwater in the minimum number of days with flood days dwindling every year.