Visakhapatnam

Konathala seeks ‘fair allocation’ to pending irrigation projects

Even as north Andhra region receives 1,050 mm rainfall annually, more than 1 crore people are facing acute water shortage, says Konathala Ramakrishna.

Even as north Andhra region receives 1,050 mm rainfall annually, more than 1 crore people are facing acute water shortage, says Konathala Ramakrishna.  

‘₹24,000 crore needed to complete works in north Andhra region’

Uttarandhra Charcha Vedika (UCV) convener and former Minister Konathala Ramakrishna has sought that a fair share in the State budget be earmarked to north Andhra districts for the completion of pending irrigation projects.

In a letter to Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, the UCV convener sought that at least ₹2,000 crore should be allocated for the irrigation projects in Srikakulam, Vizianagaram and Visakhapatnam districts this year only.

“Even as the region is recording annual rainfall of over 1,050 mm, more than 1 crore people are facing acute shortage of water for drinking and irrigation purposes,” Mr. Ramakrishna told the media here on Wednesday.

He said that 13 pending irrigation projects in north Andhra region would require ₹24,000 crore for completion. “It is unfortunate that about ₹700 crore has been allocated for these projects. At this rate, it would take another 50 years to complete the works,” he said.

Water use

Giving details about the irrigation scenario, he said not more than 8 lakh acres of farm lands are getting water when compared to the 23.24 lakh acres under cultivation in the north Andhra region.

“The region has 16 small and medium irrigation projects with an annual capacity of 207 tmcft of which only 100 tmcft is being utilised, while the remaining is being drained into the sea. The delay in the completion of the irrigation projects is adding to the crisis,” he pointed out.

Terming diversion of the Godavari water as the only permanent solution to the drinking and irrigation woes of the region, Mr. Ramakrishna said the Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi project for which the stone was laid by former Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy at Sabbavaram in 2009 can ensure all-round prosperity of north Andhra region.

This project, if completed, could ensure irrigation facilities for an additional 8 lakh acres, besides providing drinking water to 30 lakh people of 1,200 villages, he added. Recalling that funds were allocated for the projects, tenders called and the Chief Engineer’s Office was set up in the district during the YSR tenure, he hoped that Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy would complete the project.

Interlinking of rivers

Mr. Ramakrishna also put forth other demands including allocation of a fair share of Godavari water to north Andhra, linking of all rivers in the region, completion of Polavaram Left Main Canal, convening an all-party meet on pending projects proposed in the region. Lok Satta Party leader Beesetty Babji also spoke on the occasion.

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Printable version | May 27, 2020 3:10:18 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/konathala-seeks-fair-allocation-to-pending-irrigation-projects/article28529035.ece

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