NGO brings Kakatiya era tank back to life

Renovation work of 17.6-km long feeder channel of Dhamusam Cheruvu was taken up by Kazipet-based NGO Bala Vikasa.

Jangaon: A Kakatiya-era tank, which was neglected for over four decades, is now providing irrigation to thousands of acres besides improving the ground water table in Zaffergadh mandal in the district, thanks to Bala Vikasa, a Kazipet-based NGO, which took up renovation work of the 17.6-km long feeder channel of the tank by spending Rs 26 lakh. Farmers are elated as the tank is filled to its brim due to recent rains.

“With an aim to maintain the ground water table and also provide irrigation facility, the Dhamusam Cheruvu (tank) was constructed by the Kakatiya kings. Spread over 300 acres, the tank holds 1.27 tmc water,” said P Tirupati, Water Conservation Programme Officer at the Bala Vikasa, to Telangana Today. The tank, which has two sluices, surprisingly, has no weir. It not only provides irrigation to 400 acres of land at Thidugu and 700 acres in other villages, but also provides feeding to at least seven other tanks in the nearby villages.

“The feeder channel is created from Aakeru vaagu (stream) at Naskal to feed the tank. As it passes through Uppugal, Thamadapalli and Konaichellam villages, the farmers of these villages too draw the water from the channel,” Tirupathi added.

The State government partly renovated the feeder channel and strengthened the bund in 1983-85. But due to lack of maintenance the feeder canal was covered with bushes, silt, and eroded at some places. Following this, water was not reaching the tank in the last 40 years. Due to this, more than 2,600 farmers used to cultivate only a single crop. On several occasions, the villages urged the State government for help, but only small repairs were taken up and the problem remained the same,” said Bala Vikasa Executive Director Singareddy Shoury Reddy, adding that the Bala Vikasa had first taken up the renovation of the tanks in Telangana before formation of the State.

Thidugu and Sagaram farmers approached Bala Vikasa in November 2015 and requested them to renovate the canal. Though the Bala Vikasa had no project for feeder channel renovation, the NGO decided to take up the work. They organised a motivation meeting that was attended by 430 farmers and formed a canal development committee.

The organisation allocated funds worth Rs 16 lakh for the work. Under phase 1, renovation work was taken up in 2016. Over 30,400 cubic metres of silt was removed. Channel leveling and damage repairs were done. Under phase –2, Rs 10 lakh was spent to clean canal, silt excavation etc. Farmers mobilised funds for the culvert pipes.

“The tank received a good amount of water this Vaanakalam and it is now holding 1.27 tmc water. The water is being released for cultivation,” said Shoury Reddy.

A farmer Bandi Yadagiri said the villages were now able to receive water from the tank. “Even if there are no rains, the available water is sufficient for three crops in our village. Due to water availability in the Dhamusam tank, the ground water table has improved a lot,” he added.

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