Diminished water supply coupled with the delayed disbursement of investment support from the State government appears to have dented agricultural activity in Telangana for the ensuing Yasangi (Rabi) season. The total crop cultivation area in the State during the current Yasangi season dropped by around 5.04 lakh acres compared to the previous Yasangi.

The total crop cultivation has been taken up in around 60.88 lakh acres as on February 14. This is higher than the season normal cultivation area of 54.93 lakh acres, but lesser than the 65.92 lakh acres cultivated during the corresponding period of last Yasangi season. At the end of the last Yasangi season, the total cropped area had reached 72.63 lakh acre.

During the current crop season, paddy cultivation has been taken up in around 46.28 lakh acres as on February 14 against 50.71 lakh acres cultivated during the last Yasangi season. Paddy was cultivated in a total 56.44 lakh acres at the end of the last Yasangi season.

The drop in total cultivation area is being attributed to two major factors – diminished water supply and delayed disbursement of investment support under Rythu Bandhu scheme.

There is a sharp decline in available water resources in all major reservoirs. As per the latest report, Telangana has around 319.22 TMC of water available in all major reservoirs against total

storage capacity of 517.81 TMC. Groundwater levels also fell significantly by around 1.5 mbgl (metres below ground level) from 6.22 mbgl in January last year to 7.72 mbgl during this January.

Due to uncertainty over timely water supply in many areas, farmers have reportedly refrained from taking up large scale cultivation. For instance, cropped area in erstwhile Nalgonda district where farmers are largely dependent on the Nagarjuna Sagar project, decreased by more than 1.79 lakh acres compared to the last Yasangi season. However, with majority of the tanks filled during the monsoon season, there has been marginal impact on agricultural operations under them.

Meanwhile, till first week of February this year, the State government disbursed Rs 3,246 crore of Rythu Bandhu aid to the accounts of 54.6 lakh farmers against nearly 70 lakh eligible farmers. Official sources said the available funds were mobilised for payment of salaries to the government employees, due to which there was delay in disbursement of Rythu Bandhu to farmers.

“Uncertainty over availability of irrigation water and disbursement of investment support led to some delay in crop cultivation which harmed the overall Yasangi season. However, cultivation has picked up in many areas and there is unlikely to be any major crisis during this season,” an official from the Agriculture department said.
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