A question mark hangs over providing power to Kalwakurthy, Bhima and Nettempadu projects to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister
Three mega lift irrigation projects of Kalwakurthy, Bhima and Nettempadu are being inaugurated by Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy in Mahabubnagar district later this week but a huge question mark hangs over them – where is the power to operate them.
The three projects require a whopping 665 MW of power for operation at their full capacity, an unlikely prospect in the near future unless there is a heavy capacity addition to the grid. This is nothing when compared to 8,600 MW of power required to run all the 31 lift schemes taken up in the State under Jalayagnam.
As and when the three projects in drought-prone Mahabubnagar district operate to their capacity, a new chapter will be scripted as they will provide irrigation to 7.43 lakh acres of land in 45 out of its 64 mandals.
The three projects have been designed to lift 66.84 tmcft of water from the Krishna during the flood season (July to October). Farmers will grow crops like soya, mirchi and sunflower. Drinking water problem is expected to come to an end in thousands of villages.
A huge sum of Rs.5,859 crore has been pumped into these projects so far against their revised combined outlay, Rs. 6,576 crore. The net worth of all forms of economic activity, including agriculture, out of one tmcft ft is assessed at around Rs. 500 crore.
The schemes will draw water from the foreshores of Srisailam reservoir (in case of Kalwakurthy) and Jurala (Bhima and Nettempadu) to height of 1,000 ft each to cover the last acre. Another scheme Koilsagar which is also completed to the tune of 80-90 per cent (not inaugurated now) will need 30 MW.
Will 700 MW be available for a single district when the power sector is deep in crisis resulting in denial of power supply to villages almost throughout the day?
Further, the storages in the reservoirs may not be available up to level required by these projects. Drawals now, however, became possible as storage is built up in Srisailam up to 870 ft while Jurala is full.
This is ruled out in a bad year. Although the canals have been excavated fully, their entire contemplated ayacut is not covered now, pending completion of some related works.