Double trouble

By Rajanish Joshi
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015

drought and flood have affected Sangli district in Maharashtra at the same time. Four tehsils are under floodwaters, while five others face crop loss due to lack of water. The district administration and irrigation department officials said the present situation was because of uneven rainfall in the district. Experts, however, claimed that this dual-problem was not new to Sangli.

Tehsils closer to the Konkan region receive abundant showers and those abutting Solapur district are known for scanty rainfall.

This year, on September 5, a cloudburst led to 150 mm rainfall in just three hours in the Kavathe Mahankal tehsil. Neighbouring Khanapur tehsil also faced a similar situation. In sharp contrast are tehsils such as Sangola, bordering Solapur district, that received only 2 mm rain on September 5. On the one hand relief material is being distributed in 35 marooned villages; on the other, 87 water tankers have been pressed into service to distribute water in 66 villages and 522 hamlets. The district administration has stopped load shedding and tax collection in these villages. "The Krishna, Warna, Yerala rivers in the district are full to their capacity," said Khalil Ansari, superintending engineer, Sangli irrigation division.

Villagers complained of state inaction. Lift irrigation projects such as Mhaisal, Tembhu and Takari of the Maharashtra Krishna Valley Development Corporation, supposed to carry excess water from flooded areas to parched ones, are far from complete. "Local leaders and members of state legislative assembly are aware of our problems, but no effective measures have been undertaken. Floodwater can be channelized by building tunnels. The excess water flows down to Karnataka while Maharashtra's villages suffer drought," said Bharat Patankar of the Atpadi-Khanapur Water Struggle Committee, an ngo fighting to get the dichotomy resolved. Officials attributed lack of funds for the non-completion of the projects. Health problems have also surfaced, villagers said.

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