Centuries old barrage in Asifabad still serving

Oldest barrage
A view of the barrage built for optimum utilisation of water generated from natural springs.

Kumram Bheem-Asifabad: A simple structure proves to be a boon to humans and wildlife for over a century. It reflects not only the vision and innovation of rulers of olden times, but also signifies the wealth of the forests belonging to Kaghaznagar Forest Division. It is a testimony for the rulers who with limited resources gave paramount importance to develop the agriculture sector.

An over a century-old 50-meter long and 20-feet height barrage or anicut, which was built across natural springs located in dense forests near Bejjur mandal by the then rulers of Nizam era, continues to be a major source of irrigation to three villages and drinking water to wildlife. It locally can irrigate approximately 800 acres during Vaanakalam and 300 acres in Yasangi season as well.

Erected in 1903 for optimum utilisation of water generated from a series of springs found in the wild, which is situated about 5 kilometres from Bejjur mandal centre. It can impound abundant water coming out of the springs round the clock, helping farmers of Bejjur, Siddapur and Elkapalli villages in growing paddy in Vaanakalam and maize and some vegetable crops in the Yasangi season and making farming profitable.

“The barrage is the most reliable source of irrigation to nearly 800 acres of agriculture fields belonging to the three villages. It is a boon to farmers of the three villages who need not rely on bore-wells, nor tanks for raising different crops. The agrarian community registers considerable income by growing paddy, maize and vegetables with the help of the structure,” Patari Narayana, a farmer’s leader from Siddapur told Telangana Today.

Besides, this man-made wonder is an important feeder to three chain irrigation tanks including Bolcheruvu, Nagulkunta and Ippalakunta located around the three villages. The tanks were revived through the prestigious Mission Kakatiya programme in 2019. The water of these tanks is supplied to hundreds of acres of the three habitations which were not covered by the barrage.

At the same time, this barrage which houses several perennial springs is the most sought-after destination to a host of herbivores and carnivores. “It can bring respite to deer, neelgai, wild goat, tigers, leopards, honey badger, wild dogs, chousingha and many other animals by quenching their thirst in soaring summer or prolonged dry season,” Bejjur Forest Range Officer, P Dayakar, remarked.

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