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Tail-pond dam likely to benefit Krishna delta

By M. Malleswara Rao

HYDERABAD, NOV. 13. The Nagarjunasagar Tail-Pond Dam (TPD), which has been kept in cold storage for long and is high on APGenco's agenda for doing justice to Telangana, will prove be the fourth benefit for the Krishna delta.

The three other projects taken up for the delta are Pulichintala and the two Godavari-Krishna links, the first bringing 85 tmcft from Polavaram to Prakasam Barrage, and the second 200 tmcft from Dummagudem to Nagarjunasagar.

As per the latest design, the TPD will be constructed on the Krishna at Satrasala, 21 km below Nagarjunasagar but its reservoir will extend up to the "toes" of Nagarjunasagar to store 6 tmcft. Of this, only one tmcft will be for use by the reversible turbines of Nagarjunasagar powerhouse. But then, the entire pond can be emptied for supplementing the Krishna delta.

It has been proposed to taken up TPD mainly to put the main powerhouse's reversible turbines to use. The powerhouse has eight units. The pond will enable the seven reversible turbines to pump waters back into Nagarjunasagar.

Tenders

Speaking to The Hindu, the APGenco Managing Director, Ajay Jain, said tenders would be invited on November 20 for executing the Rs. 464-crore TPD project. The Rural Electrification Corporation had given an in-principle nod on the loan sought for the purpose.

Critics, however, view the TPD differently. It has a 50 MW power component of its own, which implies it has to necessarily release water to reach Prakasam barrage serving the Krishna delta. Further, the water recycled into Nagarjunasagar from TPD, would not be meant for exclusive use by Telangana as was being projected. After joining the reservoir, the water can be used for the Right Bank Canal or for power generation.

White elephant?

There are also fears that the TPD may end up as a white elephant. Each of the main powerhouse's turbines consumes 120 MW of power to work in reverse direction - one-and-a-half times its original capacity, 100 MW.

Mr. Jain insists that the "pumping mode" operation will be profitable. The power for reverse operation will be drawn during off-peak hours when the demand for power will be less. The turbines would be run in conventional mode during peak hours when the price is higher. This will enable APGenco earn revenue.

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