Farmers’ protest brings water to Chambal canals after 2 decades
Following a fortnight-long pada (stay) by farmers in front of the Chambal Command Area Development office in Kota, water was released after two decades into the dried-up irrigation canals between Gandhi Sagar Dam and Kota Barrage earlier this week. Irrigation water from the Chambal River will facilitate the sowing of traditional kharif crops, including rice, soybean, and sugarcane, in Kota and Bundi districts.
What was the agitation about and how did it get resolved?
- Hadoti Kisan Union agitation: Farmers from the Rajasthani Hadoti region protested for a fortnight in front of the Chambal Command Area Development office in Kota. The Hadoti Kisan Union was in charge of the protest.
- Lack of Water: The long-standing problem of a lack of water availability in the irrigation canals between Gandhi Sagar Dam and Kota Barrage is what initially triggered the farmers’ agitation. Over 700 villages in eight panchayat samitis in the area were impacted by this water shortage.
- Released after Two Decades: After two decades, the government finally complied with the farmers’ requests and released water into the depleted irrigation canals. In Kota and Bundi, this water release would allow farmers to plant traditional Kharif crops such as rice, soybeans, and sugarcane.
- Reason for Water stoppage: Water supply to the canals was cut off in 2001 due to technical issues, which had a substantial negative impact on farm output and resulted in losses for the farmers.
- revival of agriculture: Farming may now be resumed after it was previously dependent on groundwater and rains thanks to the water that was released into the canals.
Where is the Chambal River situated?
- Geographical Origin:
- On the southern slope of the Vindhya Range in Madhya Pradesh, the Chambal River rises at Janapav, south of Mhow Town, close to Manpur, Indore.
- Course and Flow:
- The river travels through the state of Madhya Pradesh in a north-northeasterly direction.
- For a short while, it runs across Rajasthan and acts as a border between Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
- The Chambal River then makes a swing to the southeast and enters Uttar Pradesh.
- It eventually merges into the Yamuna River in Uttar Pradesh close to Pachnada, on the border of the districts of Bhind and Etawah.
- Historical Significance:
- The Chambal River is significant historically and culturally, and the Mahabharata and other ancient texts make reference to it.
- The river was referred to as “Charmanvati” in antiquity, which means “the river on the banks of which leather is dried.”
- It gained notoriety as the “river of chairman” (skin) over time before assuming its current name, Chambal.
- Rich biodiversity:
- The Chambal River is thought to be pollution-free, which has helped to preserve its diverse riverine flora.
- The river is a vital habitat for many species since it supports a wide variety of aquatic and avian life.
- Two types of crocodilians, the mugger (Crocodylus palustris) and the gharial (Gavialis gangeticus) are among the species that can be found in the Chambal River.
- There are eight types of freshwater turtles.
- Otters with a smooth coat (Lutrogale perspicillata).
- River dolphins from the Ganges (Platanista gangetica).
- Rynchops albicollis, or skimmer.
- terns with black bellies (Sterna acuticauda).
- Sarus cranes (Grus antigone).
- Black-necked storks (Ephippiorhynchus asiaticus).
- Ecosystem and Conservation:
- The Chambal River’s relatively clean water and natural habitats have helped in maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
- The presence of endangered species, such as the gharial and the Gangetic river dolphin, highlights the conservation significance of the river.
- Conservation efforts have been undertaken to protect the river and its inhabitants from various threats, including pollution and habitat destruction.