“Where there is a will, there is a way”, goes the adage. It has come true in case of farmers of Krishna belt in Bagalkot district. The farmers in Jamkhandi taluk, suffering huge losses due to the shortage of water to the sugarcane crop, have come together and completed within a fortnight a huge project of lifting 1 TMCFT of water from downstream backwaters of the Almatti dam to upstream on River Krishna and storing it in Chikkapadasalagi barrage for summer.
Without waiting for the government, the farmers under the banner of ‘Krishna Teera Raitha Sangha’ mobilised funds, labour and material on their own and completed the task they had taken up as a challenge.
The project, built at an estimated cost of Rs 5 crore now ensures irrigation to 60,000-65,000 acres of land in Jamakhandi taluk and 25 villages in Athani taluk in Belgaum district besides providing drinking water to 300,000 people, including Jamakhandi town, 21 villages in Jamakhandi taluk and seven villages in Athani taluk of Belgaum district.
All that the state government had to do was to accord permission to take up the project which it did quickly. Over 300 farmers of 30 villages in Jamakhandi taluk under the guidance of former Union Minister Siddu Nyamagouda conceived the idea, planned the project, executed with the mobilisation of men, material and money on their own.
For Siddu Nyamagouda, this is the second such venture. He had completed construction of the Chikkapadasalagi barrage in the early 1980s with the help of farmers. The fame he earned then catapulted him onto the centrestage of politics so much so that he proved to be a giant killer when he defeated former chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde from the Bagalkot assembly constituency during state assembly elections. He then became an MP and Union minister for coal and later MLC.
Siddu said, he had to mobilise the farmers again to ensure water supply to the standing sugarcane crop during summer and overcome the problem of water shortage.
“The sugarcane growers in the taluk were suffering huge loss of crop due to a shortage of water. So we decided to take up the project,” he said.
The requirement of water for irrigation and drinking for the people in the upstream command area is 0.032 TMCFT per day which works out to approximately 3.84 TMFCT up to June 15, 2013, i.e. for 120 days during summer. However, since water is available only up to February 15 downstream, the proposal was prepared to lift 1.5 TMCFT before January 31, so that the water will be sufficient at least up to April 15, 2013. for the farmers in the upstream command area.
“There are about 4,200 pumps with an average capacity of 10 HP which are used by farmers. Each farmer contributed Rs 15,000 per pump set for the work voluntarily which is more than sufficient to complete the work,” said Nyamagouda. 25 pumps were fixed in the barrage each having capacity of 100 HP. Discharge capacity of each pump was 2,600 cubic metres per hour. Initially Jamkhandi Sugars, a private sugar factory has supplied 2 Mw of energy required for lifting of water and within 3-4 days it will be done by the Hescom,” Nyamagouda said.
Krishnappa Gurappa Giraddi of Tungal village in Jamakhandi taluk who has three acres had a yield of 120 tonnes last year but the yield dipped to 40 tonnes this year causing a loss of Rs 1 lakh. Now he heaves a sigh of relief as he is assured of adequate water supply.