G.V. Prasada Sarma

Alternative land handed over

The project is intended to bring 7.2 lakh acres under irrigation and produce 930 mw of power

Government is learnt to have written to the GVMC on Yeleru canal closure

VISAKHAPATNAM: Work on the multi-purpose Indirasagar (Polavaram) Project is expected to pick up momentum as the bottleneck of handing over alternative land has been cleared. In lieu of 3,223 ha of forest land facing submersion in Khammam, East and West Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts, alternative land has been provided in the Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

The project, estimated to cost Rs.15,000 crores, is intended to bring 7.2 lakh acres under irrigation and produce 930 mw of power. Its Left Main Canal will bring 1.5 lakh acres under irrigation in Visakhapatnam district and 23 tmc ft of water to the city to help meet the growing industrial and domestic needs.

Besides, the State Government has to pay Rs.372 crores to the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment for taking up development of forest in the area handed over to it.

The forestland on which work has to be taken up is yet to be handed over to the Irrigation Department. In Visakhapatnam district, work involves 111 ha of forestland mainly in Payakaraopet and Elamanchili areas. In Package 6 from Payakaraopeta to Darlapudi and in Package 7 from Darlapudi to Tallapalem canal and lining work has been going on in non-forest land, according to officials.

Work halted

However, the closure of Yeleru canal that mainly supplies drinking water to the city is required for the project work in about 33 km in Package 8.

This coupled with land acquisition that is yet to be completed has brought work to a halt.

The Yeleru canal was to have been closed twice to enable the work during the past one year-once in December and January and again in May and June. But owing to the failure of the North East monsoon and keeping in view the water supply for the city the closure did not take place, said an official.

The Government is also keen that work should be taken up by closing the Yeleru canal and is learnt to have written to the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation to adhere to the closure in December and January.

In the 10 km stretch between Kanitihi Balancing Reservoir and Meghadrigedda Reservoir about 4.6 km constitutes the existing Raiwada canal on which work can be taken up.

But in the remaining stretch about 110 acres of land has to be acquired. Besides, another 70 acres is to be acquired near Anakapalle. Draft notification and draft declaration have been completed for acquisition.