Union Minister for Road Transport and Water Resources Nitin Gadkari said here on Saturday that the Central government had a negative report on grounding Kaleswaram irrigation project initially but, nonetheless, conceded as it was aimed to irrigate 36 lakh acres.
The project was also mired in a controversy over whether it was an old one or new, yet the Centre gave all permissions so far.
“The last permission is awaiting clearance by the Secretary of my department. As soon as it reaches me, I will sanction it,” he said.
The Union Minister, who was addressing a public meeting to mark laying of foundation stones for four national highway projects, said the Centre was also amenable to Telangana government’s request to redesign an irrigation project whose source of water was in Andhra Pradesh.
The government wanted to shift the source to a point within Telangana.
The Centre is keen on extending any kind of assistance to State governments to exploit Godavari as it had a rich yield of water. About 3,000 tmc ft water of the river drains into sea every year. Therefore, the Centre had decided to tap Indravati, a tributary of Godavari, to take water to Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, and the tail-end of Cauvery by spending ₹50,000 crore.
The project envisages taking water from Polavaram to Krishna and then to Penna and Cauvery for the benefit of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
The objective is to find a solution to the vexed dispute between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka over sharing of Cauvery water and also check Godavari flowing waste into sea, Mr. Gadkari said.
The Centre is concerned about constructing dams to check the flow of river water, and diverting it to fields. He wanted to see for himself the progress of Kaleswaram project on Saturday but missed the opportunity.
He said that he will visit the next time.
He added that the Water Resources Ministry had also commissioned a detailed project report for three rivers that flow into Pakistan. They will be diverted to irrigate lands in Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.