HYDERABAD : The Telangana government has begun a massive work to restore 45,300 minor irrigation tanks at an estimated cost of ` 22,000 crore in the next five years. Each year around 9,000 tanks would be restored.
Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao held a meeting with officials of irrigation department here on Thursday and listed out his priorities. The Chief Minister also agreed to provide vehicle loans and petrol allowance to irrigation staff for executing the massive works. To begin with, the government would immediately sanction ` 20 crore for conducting a survey on 45,300 tanks.
Though there are a large number of tanks under panchayat raj department, the Chief Minister has decided to bring all of them under irrigation department.
A large number of irrigation tanks were constructed by Kakatiya kings for providing drinking and irrigation water. Successive Nizam rulers too developed and protected them. The Bachawat tribunal allocated 175 tmc from Godavari and 90 tmc from Krishna to fill up minor irrigation tanks. Around 20 lakh acres of ayacut was under minor irrigation in those times . The past governments had neglected the minor irrigation sector in Telangana, which is a lifeline of farmers. The farmers too over a period of time neglected desiltation of tanks and depended mostly on borewells.
Officials will start desiltation in village tanks in order to provide irrigation water to farmers. The extent of tanks will be widened with the consent of the locals. Desiltation will be taken up in all tanks within five years.
After desilting the tank, the black soil will be diverted to the nearest farms to improve the fertility of the lands. Trees and water hyacinth (gurrapu dekka) in the tanks will be removed and used as a firewood.
The estimated cost of the programme is ` 22,000 crore. Works will not be given on EPC basis. The entire work will be undertaken by the minor irrigation department itself. The State government will release some money, take funds from the Centre and also obtain loan from any one of the agencies - World Bank, JICA or Nabard. On an average the government is going to spend ` 50 lakh on each tank.
All the Ministers, MP, MLAs, MLCs, officials and students will be involved in the project. District Collectors, students and Ministers should work for two days on a token basis. Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao too will do ‘Sramadanam’ in all the districts, in order to create awareness among the people on restoring and preserving the tanks.
KCR to pen a song
An audio CD will be brought out with a song exclusively for the programme. This will create much-needed awareness among the people. The Chief Minister himself came forward to pen a song for the CD in local dialect. Cultural troops will be formed for spreading the message.