HYDERABAD: Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has decided to inaugurate the mammoth Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS) on June 21. Like State Formation Day on June 2, hereafter, June 21 too will be a red-letter day in Telangana’s history.
Proving that irrigation projects of this size needn’t take decades, Rao ensured KLIS, which has Asia’s biggest motors, was completed in just three years. He laid the foundation stone on May 2, 2016, and three years later, Phase I of the project, including three major barrages, has been completed. KLIS will irrigate 70 per cent of districts in the State.
Though there is no water in the Godavari now, Rao chose to go ahead with the inauguration as there are no auspicious days in July. Ashadam Masam and Sukra Mudhami preempted his plans to inaugurate the project before the commencement of flood in Godavari.
‘Nidhulu, neellu and niayamakalu’ formed the cornerstone of the separate Telangana movement, and the Kaleshwaram project is expected to set right the injustice perceived to have been done to Telanganites in combined AP. It proposes to utilise its full quota of 954 tmcft of allocated Godavari water.
With no option to tap the Godavari but to lift water, Rao planned massive lifts as part of the project. The water will be lifted to a height of 100 m near Medigadda. After lifting water in six more phases, it will be taken to a maximum height of 618 m at Konda Pochamma Sagar. For now, the plan is to lift 2 tmcft daily, and one more tmcft will be added soon. With this, in 180 flood days, the government can lift 540 tmcft per year.
In Phase I, the government will provide water to minor irrigation tanks in erstwhile Karimnagar and Warangal districts. From there, it will be given to farmers. Once complete, the canal system will be used to divert water. Besides, SRSP ayacut of 12 lakh acres will be supplemented from this Kharif by diverting Godavari water through reverse pumping.