The villagers from Sal and surrounding areas in the Bicholim taluka heaved a sigh of relief as they finally received water from the Tillari dam, which was released on Wednesday morning after a gap of around 23 days.
The assistant engineer of Goa Tillari Irrigation Development Corporation (GTIDC), Mr Jacob Mathew, said that the water was released at 7.15 a.m.
Speaking to media, the Sal sarpanch, Mr Ghanashyam Raut congratulated the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar for his efforts to resolve the crisis and added that the development took place only after the Chief Minister met the Union Agriculture Minister, Mr Sharad Pawar personally and requested him to find a solution to the issue.
Mr Raut also thanked Mr Pawar for action on his part. Water was also received by the Assonora water treatment plant and other areas, including Latambarcem, Sal, Sanquelim and Pernem.
It may be recalled that, water supply from the Tillari dam to Goa was stopped for a period of one month for undertaking some repair work and while this period was about to end, the Tillari projected-affected people undertook an agitation in the canal at Bhedshi demanding fulfillment of their demands due to which the water could not be release for another 23 days.
However, this inordinate delay in releasing water took its toll on plantations undertaken by the farmers in Sal and other areas, resulting in the drying of the crop. These farmers are fully dependent on water from the Tillari dam.
According to the assistant engineer of GTIDC, Mr Jacob Mathew presently 12 m cusec water has been released through Dodamarg canal and two more canals passing through Sal and Sanquelim.
Meanwhile, farmers from Sal, Wadawal, Latambarcem, Kharpal, Kumyamal, Kholpewadi and surrounding areas were seen watering their plantations with the water flowing in.
Even though the release of water brought smiles on the faces of farmers dependent on the Tillari water, they did not fail to express their pain over the losses incurred due to the drying up of their banana, coconut, sugarcane plantations besides some paddy farms. The paddy farms have totally dried up due to the lack of water and are beyond the point of rejuvenation, it is said.
Farmers who have suffered losses include Mr Uday Naik, Mr Deelip Desai, Mr Narayan Sawant, Mr Sandeep Raut, Mr Kalidas Raut, Mr Rohidas Raut and others.
The farmers said that the situation would not have reached this stage if the water had to be released by the Maharashtra government in time.
Farmers have therefore requested the state government to compensate them for the losses they have suffered by carrying out the inspection of their farms at the earliest.
Meanwhile, the farmers have express gratitude to the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar, for playing a pivotal role in sorting out the Tillari water issue.
They stated that this issue was resolved only due to the intervention and proper steps taken by the Chief Minister, Mr Manohar Parrikar.
The Sanquelim MLA, Dr Pramod Sawant, the Bicholim MLA, Mr Naresh Sawal and the Deputy Speaker and Mayem MLA, Mr Anant Shet in their statements have accused the Maharashtra government for simply creating the crisis despite the state government paying a huge amount of Rs 1,154 crore to it.
The former Bicholim MLA, Mr Rajesh Patnekar has also requested the administrations of both the states not to henceforth allow the situation to come to such a point, adding "if any issue crops up, it should be solved by sitting across the table." [NT]