Farmers from the village of Latambarcem and surrounding villages, face a grim season and fear acute losses due to the non availability of irrigation water that was supplied from the Tillari dam – the same that has been stopped for over a month now.
The farmers from Latambarcem and Dodamarg areas have already incurred heavy damages and financial losses as their plantations, undertaken by relying upon the water from Tillari dam, have withered away and dried up and died. As the Tillari water has failed to reach these farms, the hopes of resuscitating these farms and crops have evaporated. Farmers say that very little Tillari water was released and this was the reason that none of it reached the villages and the farms.
Large number of farmers from this area had undertaken different types of cultivations like banana, pineapple, coconut, vegetables, chilies, onion and other types of vegetables in the barren lands, as they were confident that they would grow a bumper crop due to the availability of Tillari water in large quantities. The farmers were confident of ample water supply through the Tillari canal as the state government had paid huge amount of money, about Rs 1154 crore to the Maharashtra government for the water supply, with an aim to boost farming and plantations in Bicholim, Pernem and Bardez taluka.
Their dreams of a bumper crop and financial profits were however shattered as their fields have dried up and the crops have died due to the intense heat and unavailability of water from the Tillari canal, which is the only source of water for irrigation.
The farmers have been unfortunate as they have encountered a series of misfortunes this year as far as the Tillari water is concerned. First, the water from the dam was stopped so as to carry out repairs on the canal at various locations. When these repairs were almost completed and water released, it was stopped again by the people displaced by the Tillari project, who agitated in the canal itself, demanding rehabilitation and government jobs with the governments of Goa and Maharashtra. When this issue was settled after many efforts and political maneuvers and after the water supply was restored, it came to nought as the Tillari canal at Sateli was breached and a large area of it disintegrated due to shoddy work and substandard quality of material used in the construction of the canal. Alternate arrangements were made by the Tillari authorities to supply water and a little water was released, however, this water failed to reach the farms in Latambarshem and the surrounding villages. The farmers are a dejected lot as their crops have gone to waste and they do not know when the water supply will be resumed.
A youth, who had engaged in farming for the first time said, “I had undertaken different types of plantations for the first time, relaying upon the Tillari water; however, all my efforts have gone to waste as the Tillari canal water has not reached my farm.”
Another farmer from Nanora, Mr Vasudev Ratnakar Gaad, who too had undertaken different types of plantations in the area in fields admeasuring four hectares, by investing lakhs of rupees, narrated a similar story and wondered if any authority would reimburse his losses and compensate him.
Similar is the tale narrated by Mr Joshi Bhat from Nanora, Mr Jayendra Kerkar from Usap, Mr Sunil Siddhaye from Latabarcem and other farmers from areas like Kasarpal, Goa Dodamarg, Bamanwada and surrounding areas.
It has also been learnt that a large number of farmers from Latambarcem areas have invested heavily in dairy farming; however, the green grass which is necessary for cattle grazing has all but dried up and disappeared, consequently affecting the milk production. Similarly the farmers are also facing the brunt of wild animals like bison, monkeys and wild boars, which regularly enter the fields and plantations and leave large scale destruction in their path.
The farmers from these areas have called on the state government to come up with some solution so as to give them some relief from the losses they are staring at. [NT]