Kodangal assembly segment in Telangana a litmus test for BRS and Congress amid agrarian dissent

Kodangal assembly segment in Telangana a litmus test for BRS and Congress amid agrarian dissent

Kodangal(T'gana), Nov 18 (PTI) Lack of irrigation water and unemployment have become a major election issue in the high-profile Kodangal assembly constituency which will decide the fate of the ruling BRS and state Congress president Revanth Reddy on November 30.

Farmers in rain-fed areas of Kodangal, located in Vikarabad district, feel discriminated against even after nine years of the BRS rule as they are totally dependent on underground borewells and nature to cultivate their crops.

They are irked against the ruling government for not creating job opportunities that have led to migration of youth to nearby cities.

Known to be a pro-farmer government, the BRS is facing agrarian dissent in the constituency. The two burning issues have provided enough fodder for Congress to raise the poll pitch in a two-way tight contest with disenchanted people keen to vote for a change to get water and jobs.

'KCR announced several schemes in the last nine years but not all have been implemented. We were promised water from the Jurala project (on river Krishna), but nothing has been done so far. I am not sure if Congress will bring water if it wins, but there should be a change in government. I am going to vote for the change,' farmer Siddepalla Sailu (35) from Yarampalli gram in Kodangal mandal, told PTI.

Sailu, who has dug two borewells to water 10 acres of land, said he incurred huge loss in kharif pulses this year because of poor rainfall.

Echoing similar views, another farmer Anjanaya (68) from Rameshwaram village, said, 'We don't have canal water here, and all are dependent on borewells. The promise to bring water from the Jurala project has not been kept. We would have believed had canals or pipelines been installed. Nothing has been constructed.' Amrutamma (30), a widow with two daughters, from the same village grieves over loss of kharif pulses crops in 1.5 acres of land because of lack of monsoon rains this year. She could not afford to dig a borewell and is waiting for water from the Jurala project to irrigate her farm.

Fully aware of the agrarian dissent in the constituency, sitting BRS leader Patnam Narender Reddy is campaigning assuring the farmers that he will ensure 'water and jobs' if he is elected for the second time. 'I am promising to give two things: employment and irrigation waters to farmers.' 'We had a meeting with the CM four times on this issue. We have reviewed and the government has sanctioned the release of water from the Palamuru-Rangareddy scheme to irrigate 1.49 lakh acres. We have got permission from the court and work has begun. The tender process has begun. In the coming years, we will provide irrigation to each field from the Palamuru-Rangareddy scheme,' Reddy told PTI on the sidelines of a campaign here.

Industries Minister K T Rama Rao has announced setting up of an IT park and industry to create job opportunities for unemployed educated youth from this constituency. 'A proposal has been sent to the industries department,' he added.

The delay in bringing irrigation water to Kodangal, some BRS supporters cite was because the state government found that the Narayanpet-Kodangal Lift irrigation scheme -- sanctioned in May 2014 just before the BRS (then TRS) government came to power in 2014 -- was not possible to provide water from Jurala. Therefore, the Narayanpet-Kodangal Lift irrigation was included in the proposed Palamuru-Rangareddy irrigation project.

Adding to many farmers' woes, poor implementation of the welfare schemes has created rift among locals as Mohammad Moiddunin, a resident of Rameshwaram, says, 'I am not getting pension from the government despite being eligible. I see many young people in their 40s availing it in our village. Where should I go and whom should I approach? ' On the other hand, the Congress is taking six guarantee schemes to voters and convincing them that it will implement all the promises like it has been done in neighbouring Karnataka.

In 2018, Patnam Narender Reddy of BRS won Kodangal seat for the first time defeating two-time TDP MLA Revanth Reddy by a margin of 9,319 votes. Patnam Narender Reddy secured 48.78 per cent of the total votes polled.

According to the latest figures from the Election Commission, Kodangala has 2.36 lakh voters. PTI LUX GDK ROH

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