In several districts of Andhra Pradesh’s Rayalaseema, digging borewells has become a life or death situation. With extremely high temperatures and scanty rainfall, the area has become bone-dry.
Farmers have hired borewells to drill the ground for water. But in some instances, drilling for even 1000 feet has proven to be of no use. The drilling of the field has also resulted in a hole in the pockets of the farmers. Digging up to 500 feet costs Rs 80 per feet. After that, for each foot, they charge Rs 10 more and after 600 feet, Rs 100 more.
Sharath AS, a customer sales executive in Bengaluru whose family owns land close to Tirupathi, said, “The part of Andhra Pradesh along the coastal belt is the actual rice bowl of India. The soil is fertile, rainfall is reasonable, and the Godavari provides irrigation for cultivation of crops. But that is not the case for Rayalaseema.”
‘Rayalu’ which translates to stones and ‘Seema’ which translates to area is an apt name for this drought-prone region.
“The Guntur region is famous for growing red chillies. Red chillies do not require much water. But even the requisite amount of water is not available,” he further added.
Rayalaseema is rich in minerals like asbestos, green quartz, iron ore, limestone and silica. But the ground water level in the region is steadily decreasing. Rayalaseema had a ground water level of 21.62 mbgl in April 2015, which dropped down to 15.83 mbgl in April 2016.
The parched land is on the verge of going barren with farmers complaining of neglect from its government.