KHAMMAM: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao had pitched his government’s prestigious Sitarama lift irrigation project as a boon to the farmers of Bhadradri Kothagudem, with its immense potential to tap into the perennial source of river waters optimally.
However, it would seem that the farmers would have to wait a little longer to get the water they were promised.
In fact, more than a year after the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change gave its nod for land acquisition for the project, the works are still moving at a snail’s pace.
The TRS government had proposed the Sitarama lift irrigation project with an aim to provide water for irrigation across 10 lakh acres in the districts of Khammam, Bhadradrikothagudem and Mahabubabad, besides providing drinking water to 180 villages in these three districts.
This was soon after the government’s decision to redesign the Indira Sagar and Rajiv Sagar lift irrigation schemes, both proposed by the former Congress government.
The Sitarama scheme was estimated at cost of Rs 7,900 crore initially but was later enhanced to Rs 13,000 crore after its water-lifting capacity was increased from 0.35 tmc to 0.75 tmc.
The plan is to lift water from the Godavari river at Kummarigudem in Aswapuram mandal. In the first phase, the officials had invited tenders in September 2017 for Rs 4,500 crore, for the excavation of the 114-km long main canal and the construction of three pump houses.
The time given to the agencies to complete the works was 18 months, ie, March 2019. However, even another two months after the deadline, only 50 to 60 per cent works have been completed.
The government has now extended the deadline to complete the first phase of works to December 2019. However, there has still been little change in the pace of the works.
The officials’ claim is that the works are getting delayed due to hurdles in the land acquisition process. “However, we are working on these issues,” they stated.