GUNTUR: The extension of the Guntur channel of the Krishna River gathered momentum with the survey works being completed in Prathipadu, Pedanandipadu, Kakumanu and Vatticherukuru mandals in Guntur district and Parchuru mandal in Prakasam district.
At present, the 42-km long channel provides water for agricultural and domestic purposes to the Tadepalli municipality, Mangalagiri municipality and Guntur Municipal Corporation (GMC), and also irrigates 33 villages in the region. The channel is a lifeline for more than 27,000 acres of farmland.Owing to the demand of farmers, the government has taken a decision to extend the Guntur channel by 30 km. Earlier, Prathipadu, Pedanandipadu, Kakumanu and Vatticherukuru mandals in Guntur district and Parchuru mandal in Prakasam district got water for drinking and irrigation from the Nagarjuna Sagar Project. However, post the bifurcation of the State and depleting water levels, the mandals stopped getting water.
Pulichintala project engineers conducted the survey for five days. With the extension of Guntur channel, drinking water will be provided for another 41 villages in five mandals and 50,000 acres of farmland will be irrigated.
The channel extension aims at connecting Nallamada drain at Pedanandipadu with Guntur channel to provide drinking and irrigation water to the public and farmers. At present, the Guntur channel flows from Krishna River to Guntur Municipal Corporation limits about 47 km distance (Up to Yamarru village in Guntur rural mandal).
From Guntur to Parchur, two lift irrigation projects would come up to lift water for irrigation. One lift irrigation project is aimed at irrigating 9,000 acres of farmland and another will irrigate 10,000 acres.
Irrigation Department Deputy EE P Sambasiva Rao said the project costs around `500 crore according to preliminary estimation.
The project aims at diverting Kondaveeti Vagu flood water to Guntur channel during summer and in other seasons water can be drawn from Krishna River.“Along with an acute irrigation crisis, the groundwater in the area is also a curse to the farmers and the people, as it is saline water. It’s not useful for farming or for drinking,” said Dr. Kolla Raja Mohan Rao, president of the Nallamada Rythu Sangam, a farmers rights’ collective.
Nallamada Rythu Sangam members Narisetty Acharyulu, Yarlagadda Ankamma Chowdary and others sought the government to complete channel extension works within this year.Pulichintala project deputy executive engineer (DEE) R Mallikarjuna Rao said that they would soon submit the Guntur channel extension survey report to the State government for taking up extension works.
Long time demand
The demand for the extension of the channel has existed from pre-Independence times, and, in 1961, the Assembly even passed a resolution in favour of extending the channel
Since then no action has been taken to solve the drinking water problem in the villages
60% of the farmers are tenants. The losses they incurred due to the lack of irrigation facilities has landed them in debt
The demand has been prevalent for the last few years, ever since they stopped getting water from the Nagarjuna Sagar Project