KHAMMAM: Farmers relying on Wyra tank for cultivation are worried about encroachments on the tank’s buffer area, and have demanded that the State government remove illegal constructions.
Wyra tank was constructed during the Nizam’s period in 1928, at a then cost of Rs 38 lakh, to provide drinking water as well as to irrigate about 17,000 acres of farmland.
Later, the tank was further developed and now provides water to 25,000 acres of farmland, and also provides drinking water to 12 mandals in Khammam district.
But some people have constructed concrete houses on the tank’s buffer area, and even a fish tank covering five acres, effectively reducing the area of the tank from 4,740 acres to 3,500 acres. The cost of occupied land is estimated to be Rs 240 crore.
Additionally, due to the encroachment, the tank’s water storage capacity has reduced from 2.5 tmc to 1.5 tmc, which has affected irrigation. Farmers allege that irrigation and revenue officials are not taking action against the same.
Recently, the tourism department had planned to develop the tank as a tourist spot and had released Rs 5 crore to extend the existing bund. But farmers are urging the department to instead construct a road around the tank, which would protect it from further encroachments and also provide road connectivity to surrounding villages.
Rythu Sangham district president B Rambabu alleged that a former elected representative dug a fish tank in five acres of the tank’s area. He further alleged that a few realtors who had occupied the land had obtained ‘pattas’ by bribing officials. “We met the District Collector and irrigation officials in this regard. If they failed to protect encroached land, a massive agitation would be taken up.”