For the State which is born out of the cry against discrimination in utilisation of river waters and for the Government that has come into being with the slogan to work for providing irrigation facility to over one-crore acre land, the year that is going into oblivion has been a mixed bag with most of its energies going into the spadework.
The irrigation profile of the State has not undergone any major change during the year except for continuation of work on several ongoing projects, mostly lift irrigation, as the better part has been spent in investigation, study, planning, designing and talks with neighbouring States to settle disputes. However, Mission Kakatiya, one of its flagship schemes, has provided a ray of hope by wetting the fields wherever there were good rains.
“Over 2-lakh acres could be irrigated in Khammam district this year purely with the help of minor irrigation tanks restored under Mission Kakatiya”, Minister for Irrigation T. Harish Rao said on the impact of the scheme.
By taking up the Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey during September-October, Telangana became the first State in the country to go for such scientific study for designing of irrigation projects. It was basically taken up to overcome disputes with Maharashtra with regard to Pranahita-Chevella lift irrigation project that aims to irrigate about 16.4 lakh acres, the highest extent for any project conceived so far for Telangana.
“Redesigning and reengineering of projects has become necessary as the projects designed during the combined Andhra Pradesh dispensation were mired in disputes with neighbouring States, delaying their execution inordinately, ” Advisor to Government on Irrigation R. Vidyasagar Rao said.
A breakthrough appears to be on the horizon with regard to dispute related to Pranahita-Chevella following several rounds of talks and written communication with Maharashtra including the latest meeting held on Tuesday (December 29). Maharashtra has dropped ample indications of its consent for Tummidihatti barrage provided there was no submergence in its territory.
Nevertheless, the issue of redesigning of projects has invited criticism from the Opposition parties as they wanted the government to complete the ongoing projects such as Kalwakurthy, Bheema, Nettempadu, Koilsagar, Srisailam Left Bank Canal (AMR) first before taking up the new ones. “Over 8 lakh acres could be given water if Rs.1,000 crore is spent on the projects nearing completion”, Ravula Chandrasekhar Reddy of TDP pointed out.