On Oct 28, 2015, the Andhra Pradesh government declared 196 mandals in seven districts, as drought-affected during the Kharif season 2015. The districts were Srikakulam (10 mandals), Prakasam (21), Nellore (14), Chittoor (39), Kadapa (33), Anantapur (39) and Kurnool (40). Consequent to the declaration of drought, the government directed the concerned district Collectors to notify the specific drought-hit areas in the District Gazette to enable farmers to avail credit facilities. On Nov 22, 2015, the Govt. added 163 mandals to the list of drought hit bringing the number up to 359 mandals. This included mandals in Guntur, Krishna, Vizianagaram. Drought was declared in 10 out of 13 districts. Crop loan and relief measures were to be taken up in these mandals as per guidelines. The state demanded central assistance of Rs 2,000 crore.
Ground water Status: (mbgl)
|Area||Apr ‘15||May ‘15||Nov ‘15||Mar ‘16||Apr ‘16|
- In Rayalseema region, except for Kurnool, groundwater has improved over the year and Apr 2016 levels are better than May 2015.
- However, Kurnool district saw a drop from 10.09 mbgl to 15.37 mbgl – a drop of 5.28m.
- Coastal Andhra (except Nellore) has seen a drop in groundwater levels compared to May 2015.
- Guntur district has seen a drop from 8.59 mbgl in Apr 2015 to 12.26 mbgl in Apr 2016 – a drop of 3.67 m.
- In West Godavari district, ground water has dropped by 3.38 m to 19.30 mbgl.
- The groundwater level is dangerously low in the districts of Prakasham (18.84 mbgl) and Ananthapur (19.64 mbgl) not because of the ongoing drought alone but also because of over exploitation of groundwater in these places in the preceding years. More groundwater data here.
RESERVOIR STATUS (as of Apr 13, 2016; The average of last 10 years is taken as ‘normal’; Source: CWC)
Reservoirs having under 50% of normal storage:
Nagarjuna Sagar: 0%
Storage as % of live capacity at full reservoir level (FRL):
- The Nagarjunasagar reservoir has no water in live storage.
River Basins (as of Apr 13, 2016; Source: CWC)
Water levels (in BCM) in river basins:
Godavari: 15.394 (FRL); 5.068 (Apr 2015); 3.078(Apr 2016); 32.35% below normal
Krishna: 32.831 (FRL); 6.914 (Apr 2015); 2.639(Apr 2016); 63.95% below normal
- Mar 29, 2016: As per CWC, most deficient river basin was Krishna, which caters to Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra, where levels were 63% below the 10-year average. Water level in the Godavari basin was also below normal.
Rainfall status (Jun 1 2015 to Apr 17 2016)
|District||Deviation (in %)||Status|
- From Jun 1, 2015 till Apr 9, 2016, the rainfall status is deficient for districts – Srikakulam, Guntur, Prakasham, Kurnool. For the entire state, deficit is 8% because of heavier rain in Chitoor, Nellore.
- According to IMD, rain in June 1 – Sept 30 2015 period was 10% deficit in Rayalseema and 10% excess in coastal Andhra.
- Rains in Dec 2015: Heavy rainfall in Nellore, Chittoor and Kadapa districts flooded villages, disrupted transport networks, flooded paddy fields. Heavy agricultural losses were reported in Rayalaseema, Kadappa, Nellore, Chittoor, Prakasam, East and West Godavari districts.
- Jan 8, 2016: Andhra Pradesh has a negative balance of MGNREGA funds for the current financial year, resulting not only in pending payment of wages of workers but also allegedly leading to denial of jobs to many in need, thus threatening the very nature of the demand-based legal employment guarantee of the scheme.
- Apr 3, 2016: NREGA daily wage hiked to Rs 194 in Andhra Pradesh from Rs 180.
NREGA statistics based on data from state government:
- The average number of employment days per household is a paltry 8 days! The state only targeted to provide 37 days of work when the number of allowed workdays under MGNREGA is 100 and it had been increased to 150 following the declaration of drought.
- The average wage rate per day was Rs 136 per day although the full rate was Rs 180 in 2015-16.
- Of the total expenditure of the state on NREGA in 2015-16 only 52.4% went towards wages while 44.8% went towards material. (The opposition has also criticized the state government for misusing the NREGA funds by enhancing the percentage of machinery components and reducing the human interface accentuating the problems of people in the drought-hit areas)
- The state has close to Rs. 418 crore of negative balance in NREGA funds in 2015-16.
- Aug 3, 2015: In Srikakulam district, around 45 per cent deficit rainfall in July has forced people to leave for faraway places. Srikakulam has a population of around 25.6 lakh and about 4.3 lakh people have migrated to other places.
- Apr 4, 2016: Kadapa city has been facing a severe water crisis for the last 25 days. The corporation is supplying salty water in several areas of the town. As the water in the Pennar River has completely dried up there was no supply of water from there. Drinking water is being supplied only once in a week. Drinking water crisis was also reported in Vishakapatnam city.
- Apr 8, 2016: In Kurnool district, the rains are deficient by 30% and over 1 lakh hectares of rice cultivation have been affected.
- Apr 8, 2016: Death toll from heat related ailments is 45 in Andhra – highest is in Kadappa (16) and Prakasham (11) districts.
- Assessing the agricultural drought situation of Andhra Pradesh up to Oct 2015, the Ministry of Agriculture’s Mahalanobis National Crop Forecast Centre assessed Kadapa, Kurnool, Nellore and Prakasam districts as facing ‘moderate drought’. The ‘moderate drought’ category is the most severe drought category under the assessment. Anantapur, Chittoor, Guntur and Krishna districts were assessed as facing mild drought. The situation in the rest of the districts was assessed as normal.
- Lack of access to institutional credit and low crop insurance add to farmers’ woes. Large number of farmers did not repay loans last year, and banks have refused loans this year.
- In Oct 2015, it was reported that 32 farmers had committed suicide in the preceding three weeks in Anantapur district. At least half the kharif crop failed because of the delayed and deficit rains in the South west monsoon season of 2015. Anantapur is not suited for cotton because it a very dry area. Yet, cotton is cultivated in about 2.4 million hectares in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana put together. This accounts for 17 per cent of the cultivated area in both the states. Undivided Andhra Pradesh was the third largest cotton producing state in India. Now Andhra Pradesh is at fifth position, with 736,000 hectares. The cost of cultivation is high and MSP announced by the Centre are lower than the costs incurred. This year, the cost estimation of paddy per quintal is Rs 2,400 in Andhra Pradesh. The minimum support price announced is Rs 1,400 a quintal.
- The area sown during Rabi 2015-16 for sugarcane is 46.4% of normal, for cotton 44.4% of normal, for sunflower 21% of normal.
- Paddy, which is sown in over 30% of the area, reflects the water scarcity across districts. While, in Guntoor the area under paddy is 10.56% of the normal, in Krishna it is 25.25% of the normal. While in Kadapa it is 211.3% of normal and Chitoor has 187% of the normal area under paddy. But even the districts that received rains during the northeast monsoon have since turned dry. So the paddy harvested would give a truer picture of the impact of drought.
- Sep 17, 2015: People in drought-hit areas will get additional 50 days of work under the MGNREGA scheme.
- Jan 7, 2016: Centre allocated Rs 433.8 crore for Andhra for drought relief.
- Feb 15, 2016: Centre approved Rs 280.19 crore for Andhra Pradesh for drought assistance.
- Apr 2, 2016: Centre released Rs.140.5 crore for taking up drought relief measures in Andhra Pradesh.
- Apr 13, 2016 Minister for Rural Development of Andhra announced that around 1,24,349 borewells will be dug across the state under the NTR Jalasiri-2 scheme by June-end this year to ensure adequate supply of water during the Kharif season.
- Apr 16, 2016: The Rural Water Supply (RWS) department has sanctioned Rs 175 crore to supply drinking water regularly to rural areas. Collectors of all the districts have been instructed to start supplying water through tankers to areas where there is shortage of drinking water. Apart from this, the government says that it has started recharging bore wells and tanks in the rural areas. The RWS department has set up a state-level monitoring cell to address the issues related to drinking water supply.
- Apr 17, 2016: Andhra CM addressed officials to work on drought relief. He said – fodder banks would be set up in 50 acres of land in every village; Agriculture and civil supplies officials have to ensure that farmers get the MSP for their produce and the district collectors should monitor it; officials of water resources, NREGA and agricultural departments should work to achieve 10 lakh farm ponds target in the State to preserve rain water. During the address, the CM also asked for computerization of crop area and pattern of crops to monitor cultivation and asked the horticulture officials to upload the data of horticulture online. (Earlier this year, the Andhra CM signed MoUs with leading retail chains and Walmart has announced plans of sourcing horticultural and other products from farmers in Andhra. Some of the agricultural initiatives taken up as part of drought relief seem to have other motivations!)
- The State is busy with construction of Polavaram dam, river linking project, Pattiseema and the latest is inland waterway.
- Dec 3, 2015: CM Chandrababu Naidu, released a white paper on irrigation saying river-linking, rainwater harvesting and drip irrigation system will make the state drought free and achieve 20% agricultural growth.
- There are reports of huge corruption in awarding contacts for constructing irrigation projects in Andhra Pradesh. The Rs. 5,150 crore Veligonda project suffering from cost and time overruns is one such large irrigation project which proposes to transfer Krishna waters from the foreshore of Srisailam project to ensure irrigation water for 4.5 lakh acres and drinking water supply to 15.25 lakh people in the fluoride-affected areas of in Prakasham, Nellore and Kadappa districts.
- The State government has started pumping water from the Godavari to the Krishna through the Pattiseema lift irrigation project. Farmers in the Godavari districts have objected this move as the rabi season crop in the Godavari districts is put in risk.
- However when it comes to effective functioning of the irrigation system, the state has shown neglect. Every year, low water levels pose a challenge to farmers undertaking rabi crop of paddy in the Godavari delta. Acute shortage of Laskars – who ensure checking and cleaning of canals at the village-level and ensuring release of water to the farms – is causing difficulties in the water distribution. As of Dec 2015, only 376 Laskars were working in the entire Godavari delta; 1,076 posts are vacant. Non-recruitment of staff in the vacancies owing to retirement has hit the system. Only 10% of the vacancies are being filled that too on temporary basis.
The State government has acquired close to 33,000 acres of fertile farmland adjacent to the Krishna basin for the construction of the new capital city of Amaravati. On the one hand, the State wants to spend on increasing irrigated land and on the other hand it is destroying rich farmlands for the new capital when it could have easily avoided that.
Anuradha SANDRP (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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