By D. Chandrabhaskar Rao
Minor irrigation tanks rejuvenated under Mission Kakatiya stand testimony for what the State government has delivered in the irrigation sector during the past four and half years. The TRS had ‘water’ as its main promise on its poll plank in 2014, when there were hardly a hundred minor irrigation tanks that had knee-deep water in them.
Unattended for decades, a majority of the over 46,000 minor irrigation structures were in shambles, but they present an altogether different picture today. As on September 19, 18,000 tanks have water ranging from 50 percent to 100 percent of their storage capacity, a top official of the Irrigation department told Telangana Today. The irony in the situation is that none of them had water even up to ten per cent of their designed capacity in 2014.
There cannot be anything more fulfilling for the water-starved people of Telangana than huge tanks in their vicinity brimming with water, the official said.
In all, 4,073 tanks have been surplussing even a fortnight after the two peak monsoon months of July and August. Many of the 31 districts have received normal rainfall while a few recorded surplus. The State received heavy spells, albeit at irregular intervals during the past three weeks in September as well. But the irrigation tanks that were rejuvenated and stabilised under the four phases of Mission Kakatiya retained much of the flood run-off. That made all the difference between 2014 and now.
The storage capacity of the 26,871 tanks covered under the four phases of Mission Kakatiya was restored by 9.44 TMC, the official said. As far as Godavari basin is concerned, 3,685 tanks are surplussing, against 388 in the Krishna basin. Unlike earlier times, much of the ayacut under minor irrigation sources has been covered with irrigation-intensive crops, including paddy.
The farmers are eager to go in for a second crop wherever possible as the government has also promised support in the form of input assistance of Rs 4,000 per acre for Yasangi. The rejuvenation of tanks has also helped in recharging groundwater tables across the State enabling farmers to go for crops even under their wells and bore wells.
Of the 46,000 tanks in the State, as many as 10,252 have been filled up to 75 to 100 percent of their gross storage capacity, 3,539 tanks up to 50 to 75 per cent, 4,599 tanks up to 25 to 50 per cent and 22,243 tanks up to 25 per cent.
In all, 27,776 tanks have been covered under the four phases of Mission Kakatiya. They have an ayacut of 21.16 lakh acre that stand to benefit from the rejuvenation programme implemented at a cost of Rs 3,561 crore.
Rejuvenation works have been completed on 8,029 tanks in Phase 1, 8,927 tanks in Phase II, 2,566 tanks in Phase III and 497 in phase IV. The officials say that minor irrigation ayacut of 12.64 acre was stabilised with the works completed so far. The silt excavated from the tank beds was to the tune of 2,666 lakh cubic metres and the application of the silt removed from tanks to farm soils began working wonders adding to the crop productivity substantially.
Source: Telangana Today