Drying paddy and sugarcane are not the only problems facing farmers in the Cauvery basin. In the searing drought-hit districts of south Karnataka, coconut trees -once a lifeline for farmers through the year -stand black and wilting.Chamarajanagara is the worst hit. Desperate farmers are planning to launch a series of protests.
The Supreme Court’s order to Karnataka on releasing 2,000 cusecs of water to Tamil Nadu till February 7 has triggered protests in Maddur of the district.On Thursday, many Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) members blocked the traffic on Bengaluru-Mysuru highway and urged the State government not to discharge water as the farmers here are reeling under severe drought.KRRS leader Konasale Narasaraju, who led the protest, said that the farmers in the Cauvery delta, for the last several years, have been losing crops continuously owing to drought and the Cauvery water crisis.
Shambhunahalli Suresh, president of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, Mandya district unit, said the KRRS would convene a meeting on Friday to decide the next course of action following the apex court’s direction.G. Made Gowda, president of the Mandya Zilla Raitha Hithrakshana Samiti and former MP, expressed his displeasure over the direction and urged the State government to “defy the apex court order”.
The office-bearers of the district unit of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, on Monday, staged a protest in front of deputy commissioner’s office here, pressing the government to fulfill several of their demands including the waiver of farm loans and providing crop loss compensation to the farmers in distress.
The Cauvery water dispute and drought have impacted the agricultural sector in Mandya district, with paddy crops on at least 50,000 acres showing indications of withering.The crops in both the Cauvery and the Hemavati river basins are at the ear-head emergence and milky stages. They now badly need water to reach the harvesting stage. But water for irrigation was stopped on Wednesday following depletion of level in the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir.
Pressing a charter of demands to save the farming community from the prevailing drought situation, farmers and Kannada activists staged a massive protest outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner here on Tuesday.The agitators, raising slogans against the Irrigation Department for not heeding to their demand of discharging water for irrigation, took out a protest march from the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway. They called on the department to take immediate steps to prevent the standing crops in the Cauvery basin from withering away by discharging water into canals from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir.Heavy losses.The stoppage of water release to canals and unscheduled/long load-shedding are causing severe financial losses to farmers, who have already lost several crops owing to drought and the Cauvery water dispute in the last four years. There are all possibilities that many farmers will commit suicides unable to bear crop loss, they said.They also asked the government to irrigate lands in the Hemavathi reservoir basin, suspend crop loan and interest recovery activities, provide at least eight hours electricity for irrigation pumpsets, and immediately disburse crop loss compensation to farmers in KRS, Kabini and Hemavathi basins.The agitators said the protests will continue till their demands are met by the government. Farmers and activists from different parts of the district participated in the protest, which was organised by the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha and Hasiru Sene and the Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Shivaramegowda faction).
With standing crops on thousands of acres of lands withering owing to lack of water and heat waves, hundreds of farmers, under the banner of the Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) and Hasiru Sene, laid siege to the taluk office in Srirangapatna of the district on Monday.KRRS leader K.S. Nanjunde Gowda led the protest.The Cauvery Neeravari Nigam Ltd. (CNNL) should immediately release water to canals from the Krishnaraja Sagar (KRS) reservoir to protect the interests of farmers, the protesters demanded.Several thousand of hectares of land remain unsown across the district. On the other hand, crops including paddy, sugarcane and others were withering for want of water. The Irrigation Department should take measures to discharge water from the reservoir and also to ensure that the water released reached tail-end areas, they said. Later, they submitted a memorandum to Srirangapatna tahsildar K. Krishna. Farmers’ leaders Krishne Gowda, Jayarama, Philips, Sunil and others were present.
Commuters travelling on the Bengaluru-Mysuru highway had a harrowing time on Sunday afternoon with farmers staging a protest at Gejjalagere in Maddur of the district.Traffic came to a grinding halt for nearly two hours following a roadblock. Farmers from Gejjalagere and adjoining villages, under the banner of Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha, staged protest against the alleged failure of the State government to save their crops.They demanded that the government immediately discharge Cauvery water from the Krishnaraja Sagar reservoir to Visvesvaraya Canal and other waterways to save crops, which have been withering on several hundred hectares. They also wanted a proper water management from the Irrigation Department to ensure water reaches the tail-end regions. According to the agitators, the recently released water from the reservoir had not reached tail-end areas in Maddur and Malavalli taluks.The police had to divert vehicles through Maddur-Malavalli highway and arterial roads. Senior police and revenue officials requested the farmers to withdraw the protest, but in vain. Later, they withdrew the protest with a warning of intensifying the agitation if their demands were neglected.
Narayana, a marginal farmer from Besagarahalli of Maddur taluk, was thrilled when the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said in April that the southwest monsoon will be “good and above normal.”
The forecast of a good monsoon prompted him to take up farming. But, now Mr. Narayana is repenting for relying on the prediction that went wrong.
Karnataka Rajya Raitha Sangha (KRRS) leaders demanded the government to release water into canals to save crops, announce waiver of farm loans and take necessary measures to mitigate drought.
Published on 24/10/2016, Deccan Herald