IMPACT OF INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION ON AGRICULTURE ACTIVITY, NAKKAVAGU BASIN, MEDAK DISTRICT, ANDHRA PRADESH

- Dr. N. Sai Bhaskar Reddy[1]

During 1940’s Patancheru was identified as a model rural development centre, which is aided by grants from the rural welfare trust fund to cover rural development including agriculture, horticulture and hygiene (Barass, 1950). In spite of industrialisation a major percentage of people are engaged in rural activities – about 60% and above in all the Mandals, except in Ramachandrapuram Mandal.

The principle crops under cultivation are given in Table 1. Jowar is the principal dry-land crop and Paddy is the principal wet-land crop. Various pulses and oil seeds are grown as rain-fed crops. Area under cotton cultivation is increasing in the recent years only. The mechanisation of agriculture is expanding rapidly, as the labour costs have increased phenomenally because of industries.

Marginal farmers are greater than 50% in all the Mandals, marginal and small farmers together constitute greater then 75% in all the Mandals. On the whole the categories of farmers are comparable to the District average percentage. Marginal farmers having up to 2.46 acres of land, in case of pollution of their lands, have no other way but to sell off at through-away prices or those lands are left fallow. This section of population is more vulnerable to environmental changes like droughts, floods and even environmental pollution, which leads to out-migrations or will be reduced to agricultural labourers. The disguised unemployment is another major problem, which is the result of small land holdings. The use of agricultural machinery and implements are given in Table 3

Table 1 Area under principle crops 1993-94 (Area in Acres)

Crops

Patancheru

R.C.Puram

Jinnaram

Sangareddy

Medak dist.

Paddy

4722

865

8348

4787

226292

Wheat

0

67

5

201

6289

Jowar

5563

1559

1053

10806

274878

Maize

2

15

1917

53

169985

Horsegram

0

0

4

179

4639

Greengram

69

26

31

892

78398

Blackgram

34

0

0

921

47322

Redgram

446

122

144

600

28564

Bengalgram

281

22

31

699

37248

Chillies

506

148

73

1436

25723

Coriander

0

50

0

319

6638

Turmeric

0

0

0

531

3405

Cotton

276

0

182

392

26275

Sugarcane

12

0

65

1012

71806

Groundnut

169

26

153

892

17486

Seasamum

14

0

0

139

8430

Safflower

386

61

0

951

17321

Sunflower

201

80

52

658

39281

Castor

0

115

45

0

3668

Linseed

0

0

0

346

2785

(Source: Handbook of Mandal Statistics, Medak District (1995)).

Table 4.2 Particulars of Agricultural Census (1990-91).

Mandal

Holdings

Total area in acres

Patancheru

R.C.Puram

Jinnaram

Sangareddy

8689

2151

6769

10617

36388.38

9670.57

23037.12

37590.99

Medak dist.

423686

1644528.49

(Source: Handbook of Mandal Statistics, Medak District (1995)).

Table 4. 3 Agricultural machinery and implements

Mandal

Tractors

Sprayers

Ploughs

Oil engines

Electric motors

Patancheru

R.C.Puram

Jinnaram

Sangareddy

20

15

52

18

50

107

347

97

2864

19

2537

26

4

4

1

3

774

154

1258

1119

Medak dist.

1927

8179

133062

1691

67468

(Source: Handbook of Mandal Statistics, Medak District (1995)).

Pollution of water, soil and air may be the main cause of fallow lands; at least on the whole about 20% of the lands are being left fallow in majority of the villages.

Traditionally there had been two types of irrigation practices in the region, lift irrigation from wells and streams, and irrigation by gravity from tanks. The lifts worked with bullocks called mhotas are suitable for irrigating up to 8 acres. Mhotas were in practice till 1980’s. The present practice of lift irrigation is by electric motor pumps. The availability of water from a number of tanks spread in the region can also be attributed to the prosperity of agriculture (Table 4.4). Tanks are adequate in numbers but now a number of tanks are of little use except as storage ponds for industrial effluents. As these tanks are connected in series the pollutants entering a tank at higher reaches pollutes all other tanks down stream. Presently many farmers shifted to dry-land farming as the water sources are polluted. The pollution of wells and tanks crippled all those farmers irrigating crops under them.

Table 4.4 Minor irrigation sources

Mandal

No. of Tanks

Total Ayacut (Acres)

Patancheru

R.C.Puram

Jinnaram

Sangareddy

18

5

19

19

3823

634

3438

3519

Medak dist.

637

140816

(Source: Handbook of Mandal Statistics, Medak District (1995)).

The life and livelihood of the farmers living in Nakkavagu basin is crippled beyond repair and compensation.




[1] The author had done Ph.D. in Environmental Impact Assessment, having experience in the fields of Environment, Sustainable Rural Livelihoods and Knowledge Management, Presently working as Consultant, Centre for Development Studies, AMR-APARD, Hyderabad.