VIJAYAWADA: AP State Water Users Associations Federation (APSWUAF) demanded that the state government drop the plan, if any, of decreasing the height of Polavaram Irrigation Project from 45.72 metres to 41.15 metres, claiming that such a move would reduce a multi-purpose project to just a barrage.
The federation also said that the benefits envisaged under the project, the lifeline of AP, would also not be possible as storage capacity of water reduces sharply.
In a press meet here on Thursday, president of APSWUAF Alla Venkata Gopala Krishna Rao said that the full reservoir level (FRL)of the dam was finalised at 45.72 metres from the earlier proposed 50 metres after the dam design review committee thoroughly considered all factors and even held consultations with the neighbouring states of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
“If the present government is planning to reduce the full reservoir level of the project because the Centre said it would only provide funds as per 2013-14 price level, the major multipurpose project would just become another barrage. The storage capacity will fall to 140 TMC from 194 TMC. The 7.2 lakh ayacut expected in Krishna, West Godavari, East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts will not get water for irrigation, diversion of 80 TMC of Godavari water to Krishna will also not be possible, drinking and industrial water needs (24 TMC) of Visakhapatnam will not be met, and 29 lakh population in 540 villages along the canals will also not get any benefit,” he claimed.
He added that reducing the dam’s full reservoir level will also hamper the Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Projects, Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi, Palnadu Drought Mitigation and other projects, which are dependent on Polavaram.
“Hence, if the government is planning to reduce the dam’s height, we demand it to drop the proposal,” he said.