Telangana, Rayalaseema farmers spar over water in Mahbubnagar
A seemingly avoidable ‘water war’ broke out between farmers of Telangana and Rayalaseema regions here on Sunday. Before the situation could spiral out of control, police entered the scene and dispersed the warring ryots. This development came at a time when the government was working out a solution to the Telangana tangle.
Nearly thousand farmers belonging to Mahbubnagar and Kurnool districts gathered in this small village to protest against use of water of Rajolibanda diversion scheme (RDS) canal. Tension mounted as the ryots from both the regions shouted slogans against each other, as hundreds of cops rushed to the spot to bring the situation under control.
Trouble began when over 700 farmers from the Alampur constituency of Mahbubnagar rushed to the RDS canal to divert water for their crops, which were drying up. They tried to raise the level of the dam by arranging sand bags so that water would flow into their fields.
When word spread around that the farmers were diverting water from RDS, nearly 300 ryots from Yemmiganur and Mantralayam from Rayalaseema sprinted towards RDS canal carrying sticks and hunting sickles. Though there were no physical attacks from either side, farmers from both the sides had heated argument over the use of Tungabhadra water for their crops. The high-pitched drama went on for over five hours.
While the T-farmers tried to arrange sand bags to raise the reservoir level, the farmers from the other side kept removing them. Mantralayam MLA Balanagi Reddy also reached the spot with his supporters to thwart the Alampur ryots’ bid to divert the water.
The T-farmers claimed that the actual allocation of 4 tmc of water from RDS was never supplied to Mahbubnagar district, resulting in drying up of the crops. Out of 80,000 acres, only 15,000 acres was provided RDS waters.
“Of the 15,000 acres which were to get RDS water, 80% of the area suffered crop damage due to non-release of water,” a farmer complained. He said the ryots on the other side were getting irrigation water to cultivate 3 lakh acres. “Our crops are at the cutting stage. If water is not supplied, we would lose heavily and all our investments would go down the drain,” rued a farmer from Alampur S Krishanaiah.
Even as the farmers indulged in verbal duel, it took a political hue when Telangana Jagruthi president K Kavitha came to RDS project site to render support to the protesting Alampur farmers. Initially, cops refused permission to her to visit the site. But later, she was allowed to go near the RDS with a limited number of farmers.
“The Rayalaseema farmers and leaders are betraying the T ryots by lifting the water allocated to the backward Mahbubnagar district. Our farmers are hit badly with no supply of water from RDS canal,” she charged. District minister D K Aruna tried to play down the tension. “Some political parties are trying to whip up passions of the farmers for political gains,” she alleged. She said the irrigation authorities would regulate water supply so that ryots from both the regions would be benefited.
She said giving a political colour to the water sharing issue was uncalled for. The row over use of RDS water is not new as ryots from Rayalaseema fought pitched battles with their counterparts from Telangana in 1997 and again in 2004 over water sharing.
source from TimesofIndia indiatimes
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