Even as the farmers of Telangana were gloating over their chief minister K Chandrasekhara Rao inking agreements with Maharashtra government on construction of five barrages on Godavari and its tributaries, farmers dependent on the river in AP are a worried lot as to whether they would get enough water to take up Rabi crop in the coming years.
Rabi is the most important crop for the farmers in Godavari delta and the sufficient water in Godavari is a prerequisite for this. Since there are no big projects upstream of Godavari river, the delta farmers till now had unhindered access to the river water. Post-bifurcation, the Telangana government has been making clear its intentions on harnessing the hitherto under-utilised waters of Godavari by redesigning the Pranahita Chevella project and by proposing barrages on the river. This has left the Godavari delta farmers worried.
Now with Telangana-Maharashtra successfully signing the pact for better utilisation of Godavari water for mutual benefit, the worst fears of Godavari delta have come true. “Godavari too is going the Krishna way. With the upper riparian states constructing several projects upstream, what had happened to the Krishna delta farmers, will now happen to Godavari delta farmers," said ICAR former member and farmers leader MVS Nagi Reddy.
Agreeing with his assessment of the situation, Y Nagendranath, president of Andhra Pradesh Rythanga Samakhya, says it will prove dangerous for the Godavari Delta. “Redesigned Pranahita Chevella Lift Irrigation project and other barrages are brilliant plans and benefit the farmers of Telangana. But, they might prove disastrous to the Godavari delta farmers. Once they are constructed, the availability of water even at Bhadrachalam is very much doubtful during lean period," he said.
Nagi Reddy said unlike his Telangana counterpart, Chandrababu Naidu has failed to evaluate the situation. Despite being aware of the changes being made in the proposed projects in Telangana, he has failed to understand the implications of these moves. The fate of the inter-linking of Krishna and Godavari rivers depends on the completion of Polavaram project. But, the state government is giving priority to Pattiseema. Given this, how can river-interlinking be beneficial to the farming community in the state ask the farmers' leaders.