MYSURU: The state government which stopped discharge of water from Kabini reservoirs last month to keep water to meet drinking needs and to save wildlife population, has now made a U-turn eyeing the prestigious Nanjangud bypolls and to keep the farming community in good humour.
Irrigation authorities had stopped water from Kabini fearing that further depletion would deprive water to over 3,000 elephants and may lead to man-animal conflicts. The officials are now under pressure to release water to right bank canal.
Sources said Chief Minister Siddaramaiah had directed the authorities to release water following pressure from farmers in Nanjangud taluk with paddy in 35,000 acres as stoppage of water leading to crop loss would damage the poll prospects of the Congress.
Officials have released 1,700 cusecs of water to Right Bank Canal that caters to Nanjangud, T Narsipur and parts of Kollegal taluk. Official sources said they are told to give water for a week from Kabini that has depleted to 2,265 ft against 2,284 ft. Discharge of water for a week would further slip water levels to 2,260 feet leaving behind just six tmcft of water.
However, authorities maintained that there will not be a problem for drinking water. Meanwhile, the government has decided to fill tanks in Nanjangud taluk with Kabini water again eying votes. This would also bring land-holding Veerashaiva community close to the party as the dry patches will get irrigated and underground water will be recharged in the region.