Release water for agriculture – Krishika Sangha urges CM

Team Udayavani, Feb 22, 2019, 10:03 AM IST

Udupi: An emergency appeal has been sent by the district Krishika Sangha to the chief minister H D Kumaraswamy urging him to direct the district and municipality authorities to release water from the Baje dam for agriculture purpose.

Krishika Sangh’s appeal says, “Our organization is working for the well being of farmers and agriculture without affiliating with any political party. The association is trying to attract farmers, who have given up farming, back to agriculture. When it is necessary the association fights for their rights in an legislative manner.”

“At present, we are in a situation where we have to protest for the agriculture and the agriculturists of Hiriyadka in the taluk to survive. You have to intervene in this matter and do justice for the agriculturists. From 1974, water is being supplied to the city of Udupi by building a dam at Baje across the Swarna River. Though the city has grown by leaps and bounds, no alternative source of water has been found by the taluk or district administration and they are depending on the water from Baje dam only. When the authorities feel that there will be shortage of drinking water in the city, they immediately stop the electrical pumps of the agriculturists on the basin of Swarna River. People here are depending on agriculture since ancient times for their survival.”

“Now, because of the sudden stoppage of electricity to the agriculturists of Swarna River basin at Hiriyadka by the concerned authorities since 22 days, all farmers are facing the fear of losing their crop due to the scorching heat. In this area, around 950 agriculturists and 450 agriculture labourers are working directly and indirectly in the farm land over an area of 650 acres (260 hectares). This consists of 15,000 coconut trees on 300 acres, 60,000 areca nut trees on 120 acres, 20,000 plants of banana on 50 acres, vegetables on 10 acres and paddy on 200 acres of area. The cost of production is around Rs 12 crore and farmers have loan of around Rs 2.36 crore. If minimal water is not provided to keep the land wet, then the farmers are definitely going to lose their hard-grown crop,” explains the appeal.

“The district administration, though restricted the use of water for agriculture due to supply of drinking water to the city which was growing, we did not face any issues so far. Depending upon the availability of water and water level, water was being released twice in a week in the months of March and April and once in a week in the month of May. The district administration had taken this step under the leadership of our association itself. However, now an electrical energy generation company has come up by the side of the dam. The height of the dam is increased from 4.7 meters to 6 meters by the district administration in order to facilitate this company. As this company does not open the gates of the dam, during the rainy season around 60 acres of agricultural land remains submerged in water for continuously for two months. For the same reason, the natural flow of the water is obstructed, which has resulted in the formation of a huge crater on one side of the dam,” it states.

“The total capacity of the 68 electrical pumps of the agriculturists is around 359 HP. However, owing to various reasons, all the pumps are not in operation. The pumps will not be in continuous operation excepting the necessary two to four times in a week. According to the officials, the water consumed by the agriculturists is more than that of the city dwellers. So they are restricting the flow of water for only agriculture. But if the agricultural land that is on the river basin is kept moist, then the water that gets evaporated during summer will be reduced and the farmers and agriculture also will survive,” it adds.

“Though we have given several appeals to the concerned officials since 22 days, there is no improvement in the situation. So we request you to consider this issue as a serious one and protect the farmers and agriculture from the irresponsible officers. We hereby request you to pass an order to the district administration to provide water for agriculture twice in a week in the months of March and April and once a week in the month of May. We are ready to cooperate with the officials in implementing this order,” ends the appeal.

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