HYDERABAD: The Yellampalli reservoir is getting inflows of 16,000 cusecs even before the operation of motors at Sundilla. The Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP) too getting some water from upstream areas. Now, unsurprisingly, Opposition parties are asking the government was there ever a need for the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS)? They believe the answer is ‘no’. Irrigation department officials, meanwhile, believe this criticism is unfounded.
S Vijaya Kumar, secretary of Telangana Engineers JAC, said, “The Kaleshwaram project is essential for Telangana. Until August 1, there was no water at SRSP. The rains were not ideal and Yellampally did not start getting water till August. If Godavari waters were stored at Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla barrages, then the available water could be released to farmers in the last week of May itself.”
Kumar said that there was some delay this time only because it was the first year since Kaleshwaram went online. “From next year, water stored at Kaleshwaram will be released to SRSP and Yellampalli farmers in the last week of May itself,” he said, dismissing all criticism of KLIS.
Official sources also pointed out that even on August 3, the inflows into SRSP were very meagre and they were not enough to meet the requirements of the entire ayacut. “There is indeed a need to pump water into SRSP this year,” said an official. Sources said that in case there are heavy floods at SRSP and Yellampalli, Kaleshwaram motors could not be operated. “The idea of Kaleshwaram is to be able to tap into Godavari water from any side. If water comes from Babli, the government will use the same. If there is no water from Babli, then Kaleshwaram water will be used instead. If SRSP and Yellampalli get sufficient water, then Kaleshwaram water could be even be used to supplement the Palamuru-Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Project in the future. We will use all the options available to us, including KLIS to tap into the 954 tmcft water available to Telangana in the Godavari,” an official explained. Officials also said that in the course of time, the government would prepare an operational schedule for Kaleshwaram for better utilisation of Godavari water.
Meanwhile, senior Congress leader and MLC, T Jeevan Reddy, while supporting the Pranahitha-Chevella project, has termed the construction of Medigadda barrage as the TRS government’s ‘stupidity’. On Saturday he said, “Farmers have not gotten water for 15 days. This is because water from Medigadda has not been released.”
However, officials brushed off Reddy’s statements. “This is Kaleshwaram’s first year. From next year, water stored in three barrages will be released to farmers in May,” said an official.