Though chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy assured people that a 30-lakh- acre additional ayacut would be brought under irrigation by December 2014, irrigation officials say they are sure of providing water to 20 lakh acres and the remaining 10 lakhs can be brought under cultivation only if they overcome the land acquisition problem.
According to them, acquisition of lands in forests and near national highways is hampering the progress of irrigation projects.
“The chief minister wanted us to provide water to 30 lakh acres of new ayacut. We are trying our best. We can assure now that 20 lakh acres will be provided water,” officials of the irrigation department say. According to irrigation engineer-in-chief C Muralidhar, they require 7.8 lakh acres of land for construction of irrigation projects and have acquired 6.3 lakh acres so far, a big record of achievement by any state government.
Of the 86 projects taken up under the Jalayagnam programme, the state government prioritised fifty. Under these 50 projects, the government has already provided water to 20 lakh acres and the department requires Rs 10,878 crore more to irrigate a further 30 lakh acres by December 2014.
Polavaram project engineer- in-chief M Venkateswara Rao says that the recent government orders increasing the project cost by 82.44 per cent has nothing to do with the present tender valued at Rs 4,717, which was under the process.
“There is a misunderstanding that the estimate value of current tender is enhanced now by sanctioning revised estimate from Rs 4,717 crore to Rs 7,372.22 crore. The increased cost of the Polavaram works is different from the works invited for tenders for Rs 4,717,” Rao said.