HYDERABAD: While the opposition leaders in Telangana are racking their heads to corner the ruling TRS during the current Monsoon session, chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao is busy giving finishing touches to his master plan to revamp the state irrigation sector completely, in a bid to ensure irrigation facility to all villages in the water-starved state.
The opposition parties had a two-point agenda to grill the government. To demand a discussion on farmers suicides and to force the government to give up redesigning of irrigation projects. But KCR has surprised his political opponents by announcing that he was ready to discuss farmers suicides. He offerred to give a powerpoint presentation on the benefits of redesigning of irrigation projects.
The government has directed the irrigation department to come up with a detailed report explaining the benefits of redesigning which will be presented on the floor of the Assembly. But, what is the government up to? This question has left the opposition perplexed.
According to sources within the irrigation department, abandoning of Thotapalli balancing reservoir will itself help the state exchequer save a whopping `1,000 crore. Moreover, the change in project design will help to irrigate an additional 3,000 acres of ayacut region.
According to the plan, two aqueducts will be constructed in Karimnagar in place of Thotapalli, which will facilitate irrigation of more farmlands.
“Rao is fully prepared to counter each and every allegationn and clear all doubts regarding the irrigation sector,” sources said.
The government will also use technology like Google Earth to give clarity on the government’s plan.
According to sources, irrigation minister T Harish Rao has directed all chief engineers to provide detailed information with regard to each project, so that the CM can present an overall view of the irrigation sector. Despite the Congress’ rumbling over Pranahita-Chevella, the government has decided to redesign it by eliminating Cancellation of Thottapalli project won’t cause any burden, in fact it will save six villages from submersion, said an offical.
“Cancelling Thotapalli won’t cause any financial loss to the exchequer as the government has not spend any money till date. Moreover, the alternative plan - to divert water from Mid-Manair to Gouravelli by constructing two aqueducts - will irrigate the same ayacut. This alternative proposal has an added advantage as none of the six villages listed in the original plan will be submerged. Thus, there is no need to relocate farmers from these villages,” the official explained.
All these six villages will be irrigated as an ayacut region of 3,000 acres will be added to the 1.69 lakh acres proposed under Thotapalli, sources said.
Thotapalli balancing reservoir was originally sanctioned in 2008 to store 1.7 tmc of water at Gouravelli reservoir to irrigate a proposed ayacut of 1.69 lakh acres. The government had acquired 1,400 acres of land from farmers for the reservoir and paid the compensation.
Except implementing R&R package, not a single rupee has been spent on the project during the last seven years.
“The only thing that worries the government is whether to retain the 1,400 acres of land acquired from the farmers. The government has already paid compensation to the farmers. Whether to return the lands to original farmers or to utilise them for any other purpose is the only question remaining,” said an official.
Despite the Congress’ rumbling over Pranahita-Chevella, the state government has decided to redesign it eliminating Rangareddy district from the plan. Instead of a major barrage, the state will construct a medium barrage at Tummadi Hatti so that the it could provide water to two lakh acres in Adilabad district.
This will ensure that no area is submerged. In place of Pranahita-Chevella, a major barrage is likely to come up near Kaleswaram. The water will be diverted to Yellampalli and the government will seek national project status for Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Project.
The other major plan is to tap the virgin catchment of Indravati river. The water will be diverted from Tadakapalli to Nizam Sagar and from there to SRSP stage-2 to Singarayapuram.
Kanthalapalli project will also be redesigned to benefit Devadula, as the ayacut under Devadula is not getting required waters.istrict from the plan.