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Andhra Pradesh’s Polavaram dream nearer to becoming a reality

The fixing of embedded parts and sill beams for radial gates of the spillway were nearing completion and stood at 95.81 per cent.

Published: 01st January 2022 10:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st January 2022 10:35 AM   |  A+A-

Representational Image

By Express News Service

VIJAYAWADA: Diversion of water to the Godavari delta region via the river sluices of Polavaram Irrigation Project by enabling the flow via approach, spill and pilot channels for the first time, and completion of Gap 3 Dam of the project are some of the state’s important achievements of 2021 in the sector.

As much as 41.78 per cent of the Polavaram project had been completed by the end of August, including 74.75 per cent of headworks, 92.57 per cent of the right main canal and 71.12 per cent of the left main canal. 

As per the status report of various irrigation projects, including Polavaram, in Andhra Pradesh presented by Water Resources Minister P Anil Kumar Yadav before the state Assembly in the recently concluded session, under headworks 99.97 per cent of the spillway concreting works (on piers, divider walls and training walls) had been completed. The fixing of embedded parts and sill beams for radial gates of the spillway were nearing completion and stood at 95.81 per cent. The upper and lower cofferdams measure 2,356 metres and 1,613 metres, respectively. Jet grouting in the river bed along the alignment of both cofferdams has been completed.

On the other hand, the stalemate on the revised estimates for the project continues. Only after its approval the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) package can be implemented. Without R&R, water cannot be impounded even if the concrete dam structure is ready.  

As per the official data, only 20.19 per cent of R&R has been completed. By the end of August, 1,12,555.99 acres were acquired and another 54,226.51 acres needed to be acquired. Out of the 373 habitations that will submerge under the Polavaram project,  rehabilitation of only 25 has been completed so far. 

As of November 16, the total expenditure incurred on the Polavaram project stood at Rs  18,340.64 crore, of which Rs 4,730.71 crore was incurred before Polavaram was declared a national project. The total funds released to the state government through the Polavaram Project Authority stood at Rs 11,492.16 crore. The state is yet to be reimbursed Rs 2,117.77 crore. 

Another important development in the irrigation sector was the commencement of modernisation works pertaining to Brahmam Sagar project, part of the Telugu Ganga project, in Kadapa.  

This year also saw wastage of water stored in reservoirs due to technical glitches in the operation of dam gates. First, it was the Pulichintala Project on Krishna river, which saw one of its crest gates break in the flash floods in August, leading to a large volume of water going waste into the sea. Then, the earthen bund of the Annamayya project on Cheyyeru river in Kadapa district breached due to another flash flood. Several blamed the defunct gate led to the disaster, though officials denied it.    

When it comes to agriculture, the production estimated for 2021-22 (Kharif and Rabi) is 1.69 crore metric tonnes, which is higher than 1.65 crore for 2021-22, despite the losses due to heavy rains and floods.

As per the data with the Directorate of Economics and Statistics under the state government, as per the final estimates of 2020-21 the total area under cultivation of food grains was 43.03 lakh hectares, of which pulses accounted for 12.44 lakh hectares and paddy 25.52 lakh hectares. As per the second advance estimates of 2021-22, the area under cultivation of food grains was 41.44 lakh hectares only with pulses accounting for 12.38 lakh hectares and paddy for 24.20 lakh hectares. 

However, in production 2021-22 seems to be faring well when compared to the previous year. While the pulses production for 2020-21 was 10.95 lakh MTs, it was estimated to be 11.30 lakh MTs in the current year. Similarly, paddy production was 130.89 lakh MTs in 2020-21 and is estimated to increase to 135.24 lakh MTs in 2021-22. 

Flash floods and water wastage

The year also saw wastage of water stored in reservoirs due to technical glitches in the operation of dam gates. First, it was the Pulichintala Project on Krishna river, which saw one of its crest gates break in the flash floods in August. Then, the earthen bund of the Annamayya project on Cheyyeru river in Kadapa district breached due to another flash flood. 



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