Kaleshwaram project: Efforts on to secure National project Status: Harish

Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao disclosed that the State Government was making all efforts at various levels with the Central Government to get recognition of Kaleshwaram Prjoect as a national project.

Stating this in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday during question hour, the Irrigation Minister took the opportunity to squarely blame the erstwhile Congress regime in the state for failing to get national project recognition for Kaleshwaram despite the fact that the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre. If the then Congress regime had pursued with the Central Government as was done for the cause of Polavaram Project during the undivided Andhra Pradesh, Kaleshwaram too would have been declared as a national project, he added.

Harish Rao asserted that while the then Congress regime failed to get the needed clearances from the Centre for the Kaleshwaram Project, it was the foresight and vision of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao in redesigning the project as suggested by the Central Water Commission and also amicably resolving the inter-state problems with Maharashtra Government, central clearances were obtained to speed up the project works to ensure the water needs for a total ayacut of 37,08,670 acres in phases by 2021-2022.

The Minister explained that the works from Medigadda barrage to Sripada Yellampally project and to Mid-Manair Rservoir and further to Komaravalli Mallanna Sagar and to Konda Pochamma Sagar were in advanced stage and the remaining works were also progressing well. While two pump houses were completed, another 32 are ready for commissioning by June this year, he added.

Harish Rao said KCR’s vision was to ensure that every constituency should be provided with irrigation waters for a minimum of one lakh acres. The Chief Minister also wanted to ensure the farmers to reap the benefits of Kaleshwaram Peroject, and it was imperative for completing all the canal works for which Rs,.1000 crores have been allocated, he added.

Replying to another question of the BJP members, the Irrigation Minister informed that no new irrigation projects were taken up in the state, though five projects have been re-designed. They are Pranahitha Chevella Sujala Sravanthi, JCR Devadula Lift Irrigation Scheme, Indiramme Flood Flow Canal, P.V.Narasimha Rao Kanthanapally Sujala Sravanthi and Sita Rama Lift Irrigation Project.

Explaining the reasons for redesigning the projects, the Minister said it was mainly done to rectify certain critical deficiencies in terms of Hydrology, location, unresolved inter-state aspects, storage requirements etc. Without re-designing, viability of certain projects was no possible. Besides the Central Water Commission had advised to review the quantum of divertible flows from Pranahitha Barrage at Tummidihetti and wanted increasing the storage capacity of online reservoirs or construct artificial reservoirs to meet the storage requirements of the project, he said.

The Irrigation Minister further explained that these projects had been re-designed with an increased cost of Rs.61,489.92 Crores for achieving an additional 30 lakh acres of new ayacut and stabilization of ayacut under these projects. Storage capacity of online reservoirs was also increased up to 206.36 TMC. Besides these, re-designing was intended to achieve increasing the scope for fisheries, tourism and inland water transportation due to rejuvenation of Godavari River for a length of 250 kms, he added.

BJP Floor leader G.Kishen Reddy felt that there was more to it than meets the eye in the re-designing of the projects. He charged that estimates were constantly revised, projects were escalated, tenders for various works were changed etc. but the contractors entrusted with the works were not changed.

Going hammer and tongs at the “sweeping and uncalled for remarks” of the BJP member, the Irrigation Minister reminded that the re-designing of the projects have only helped to ensure and meet the water requirements. It is very unfortunate that the BJP was only trying to politicize the issue while it should have pointed an accusing finger at the Congress for neglecting the project. He declared that the TRS Government was committed to meet the water requirements of the farmers in the state and prevent the ryots from resorting to suicide for water needs. (NSS)