Even as rabi season is around the corner, the prevailing uncertainty over the government’s decision of allowing the cultivation of second crop has put the delta farmers in a fix.
If the government decides to cancel rabi crop this year, it will be the third consecutive year that farmers have to forgo the second crop. Farmers had to forgo the second crop for two consecutive years—2012 and 2013— to facilitate Krishna Delta Modernisation works. Despite this, the progress in the execution of the works has been far behind of the schedule all these years.
Adding to this, what is adding to the confusion of farmers is the conflicting statements being made by the elected representatives.
Such statements are also confusing irrigation officials who are running from pillar to post in an attempt to be prepared for any eventuality.
Though kharif harvesting is at its fag end in Krishna district, the government has not called for the Irrigation Advisory Board meeting which will take a call on whether to allow a second crop or to cancel it again, to expedite the delta modernisation works.
Irrigation officials inspected canals and similar infrastructure to assess at what stage the modernisations works were in, on Saturday and Sunday. Vijayawada Irrigation Circle Superintending Engineer D. Ramakrishna said that all canals were being inspected because there were clear indications from Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao that works in progress should be expedited. At the same time, he said that there would be a second crop this year.
“This has thrown farmers into confusion because the second crop and progress in modernisation works are mutually exclusive,” he said.
Krishna Delta Protection Committee convenor Kolanukonda Sivaji said that Mr. Umamaheswara Rao should make an official statement on the second crop immediately. “He should clear air on the amount of water that would be released into canals so that farmers can plan their crop,” he observed.He wondered as to why the Irrigation Minister did not announce a second crop at the Farmers’ Empowerment meetings. He wanted the Minister to announce the details of the canals and structures that would be modernised under the scheme this year.