Jagan announces Rs 60K cr Krishna-Godavari irrigation project, dumps KCR’s proposal
On Monday, Jagan announced taking up of an irrigation project at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore to divert Godavari water from Polavaram dam in West Godavari to Banakacharla regulator on Krishna river in Kurnool district without involving Telangana.Updated: Oct 30, 2019, 00:35 IST
The bonhomie between Andhra Pradesh chief minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy and his Telangana counterpart K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) seems to have ended with the former virtually dumping the latter’s proposal for a joint irrigation project on the borders of two Telugu states to divert surplus water of the Godavari river to the Krishna basin.
On Monday, Jagan announced taking up of an irrigation project at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore to divert Godavari water from Polavaram dam in West Godavari to Banakacharla regulator on Krishna river in Kurnool district without involving Telangana.
During a meeting held at Pragati Bhavan in Hyderabad on September 23, Jagan and KCR had discussed the plan of diverting Godavari waters to Krishna at a specific alignment which would be useful to both the states.
According to the proposal, Godavari water would be diverted from Dummugudem in Bhadradri Kothagudem district in Telangana through a series of lift schemes into tunnels and canals up to Srisailam reservoir from where, it would be taken to Pennar basin that would provide irrigation to Rayalaseema region and south coastal Andhra districts.
The proposal was tentatively estimated to cost Rs 1 lakh crore. Both KCR and Jagan also discussed this inter-state project with Prime Minister Narendra Modi when they met him on October 4 and 5 respectively and requested liberal central assistance for the same.
Earlier, a couple of meetings were held between the officials of the irrigation department to discuss the best alternative proposals to link Godavari with Krishna basin.
But even before the two states could come to a conclusion on the joint project, Jagan came out with the new proposal, thereby dumping KCR’s plan.
An official spokesman of the chief minister’s office said the latest project, which had already been studied by Water and Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS), a consultancy wing of the Union water resources ministry, around 23,000 cusecs of water would be diverted from Polavaram to Banakacharla Head Regulator on Krishna river for a period of 105 days, accounting for a total diversion of 210 thousand million cubic feet (tmc) of flood water.
En route, it was proposed to construct a huge balancing reservoir of 150 tmc capacity at Bollapalle in Guntur district. It would stabilise 9.61 lakh acres of crop under Nagarjunasagar right canal and two lakh acres in Kanigiri of Prakasam district, besides meeting drinking water requirements of Guntur and Prakasam districts.
The Godavari water which reaches Krishna basin at Banakacherla regulator would provide irrigation to the parched lands of Rayalaseema through existing projects of Veligonda, KC Canal, Telugu Ganga Project, SRBC and others. In all, around 2100 MW electricity will be required for the entire Godavari-Krishna river water linkage.
“The chief minister instructed that a detailed project report be prepared by WAPCOS at the earliest and project be commenced soon,” the spokesman said.
The Telangana government has expressed disappointment over the decision of Jagan to ignore KCR’s proposal for a joint irrigation project. “The Telangana chief minister’s proposal was in the best interest of both the Telugu states. A joint project would have saved a lot of money besides providing the same benefits,” Telangana Water Resources Development Corporation chairman V Prakash said.
He observed that such unilateral decision by AP government to go ahead with its own project would result in continued inter-state water disputes in future.
Irrigation experts in Andhra, however, opposed such a joint project passing through Telangana. “It is not prudent in the long run in the interest of Andhra Pradesh. There is every possibility that the farmers of drought-prone Telangana would draw more water from the project, depriving Andhra farmers their fair share,” argued retired irrigation engineer M Vishweshwar Rao.
He also suggested that if the new project proposed by Jagan government was extended up to Cauvery basin to supply 50 tmc ft of water to Tamil Nadu, it could as well get Central assistance under the River Interlinkage Project scheme.