In a major step towards speeding up the Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation project works, the Maharashtra government has in principle agreed to allow construction of a barrage across Pranahita river in Adilabad district. The barrier across the river also spreads into Maharashtra and will serve as the taking-off point of the project.
Highly placed official sources in the Telangana government stated on Thursday that Maharashtra had agreed for the barrage with 152 metres full reservoir level (FRL), paving the way for the latter to identify the number of villages to be submerged in the barrage waters in Chandrapur, Wardha and Gadchiroli districts. Telangana will conduct a public hearing in the villages to be submerged with the cooperation of Maharashtra once the villages were identified.
Bone of contention Fixing the FRL has been a bone of contention between the two States till recently and there has been a forward movement after a delegation of the Irrigation Department led by Minister T. Harish Rao visited Mumbai in July this year and held talks with his Maharashtra counterpart. “The barrage to be constructed to divert water from Pranahita river will ensure a flow of at least 1,000 cusecs of water downstream,” the sources said.
Maharashtra has also agreed for 148 metres FRL for Yellampally reservoir, which is the major component of Pranahita Chevella after the proposed barrage. Water from the barrage will flow into Yellampally.
Efforts for clearance A few Maharashtra villages will also be benefited with the barrage with drawal of water from its left bank for needs of drinking and irrigation. According to preliminary estimates, about 1,500 hectares of land in Maharashtra is likely to be submerged in the barrage waters.
On the other hand, the State government has stepped up its efforts to pursue clearances for the Pranahita-Chevella project by sending a Chief Engineer and Superintending Engineer from the Irrigation Department to Delhi. With the help of the Central Water Commission (CWC) they were pursuing clearance for the project with Ministries of Tribal Affairs and Environment and Forests.