Wednesday, Aug 06, 2003
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By Our Staff Correspondent
This is the fifth occasion the canal has breached since water was first released into it. The discharge into the canal was stopped when the bunds on either side breached around 8.30 a.m.
The 18-ft.-high bunds on both sides of the canal (between chain 302 and chain 303) have nearly 100-ft. breaches.
A huge quantity of water from the canal gushed into the nearby fields, damaging the paddy crop.
Around the same time, an aqueduct across the canal at the 39-mile point near Somnal village of Gangavathi Taluk in the district also developed cracks. A huge quantity of water leaked, putting massive pressure on the structure.
The authorities were forced to divert the water from the canal into a nullah near Dankankal village to avoid further damage to the structure.
The canal has already breached at four points since July 15 when water was released into it to provide drinking water to the drought-hit villages along the canal in Sindhanoor and Manvi taluks of Raichur District.
The first breach was reported at the canal's 39-mile point near Somanal village of Gangavathi Taluk on July 19. The second was noticed at the 96-mile point in Sirwar Irrigation Division of Raichur District on July 20.
The same day, the canal also developed breaches at the 63-mile and 68-mile points in the Maski Sub-Division of the Sirwar Division.
According to sources in the Oddarhatti Irrigation Division, the Chief Engineer of the Irrigation Central Zone of Munirabad, Subramanyam, and the Superintending Engineer, Venkat Reddy, were away from office when the canal developed breaches. Balakrishna, Executive Engineer of the Oddarhatti Irrigation Division, and some officials rushed to the spot to inspect the damage. Some officials have been posted at the aqueduct near Somanal village to divert water from the canal and avoid further damage to the structure.
The canal developed breaches when the discharge was 3,000 cusecs. Now the discharge has been reduced to zero. The sources said Mr. Balakrishna and some engineers were camping at the site near Hitnal village to inspect the extent of damage done to the bunds of the canal and to take steps to repair them.
It would take at least a week to repair the damaged portions of the canal, they said.
On the other hand, the engineers who are camping near the aqueduct have reported that the aqueduct has become weak due to lack of maintenance. They have suggested that the entire structure be strengthened before water is released into the canal.
The canal has developed breaches at a time when ayacutdars in the command area are busy transplanting paddy.
The abrupt suspension of water release into the canal has affected paddy transplantation in the entire command area, which is about three lakh acres and covers Gangavathi Taluk of Koppal District, and Sindhanoor, Manvi, and Raichur taluks of Raichur District.
The ayacutdars, who could not sow rabi crops last summer due to water shortage in the reservoir, are now worried because the canal breached right in the initial stage of kharif sowing.
According to reports, most of the ayacutdars in the upper reaches in Gangavathi Taluk have already completed paddy transplantation and the water in the canal was suspended when they were about to feed water to their fields.
The ayacutdars in Sindhanoor, Manvi, and Raichur taluks have yet to complete paddy plantation, which was scheduled to be completed by the end of this month.
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