The eight-member experts committee of the Union Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change (MoEF) has given its go ahead to the Irrigation Department for taking up environmental appraisal for the proposed Modikunta Vagu irrigation project in Jayashankar Bhoopalapally district with some additional conditions in terms of reference.
The project seeks to irrigate 5,500 hectares and also supply drinking water to 35 villages in Wazedu mandal. An earthen dam running for 1,359 meters has been proposed across Modikunta Vagu.
According to Irrigation Department, the length of the main canal would be 21.85 k.m. and the total land required for the project is 574.96 ha. It also involves submergence of 472 ha of forest land at FRL 124 meters. However, no village would be submerged in the project waters. As most of the non-forest land is private land, it would be acquired as per the provisions of Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013.
The experts panel that met on Oct. 24 in Delhi appraised the project as category ‘B’ since the Eturnagaram Wildlife Sanctuary fell within 4.9 km from the project site and the command area was away from the sanctuary’s eco-sensitive zone. It advised the project proponent to secure NOC from the Telangana Wildlife Department so that the proposals could be transferred to the State. The State Environment Impact Assessment Authority informed that the inter-State boundary was within 10 km radius of the project.
The conditions for environmental appraisal included collection of 3 seasons’ data for the project area, preparation of detailed irrigation management plan and consideration of conjunctive irrigation right from the formulation stage.