Reshaping Pranahitha-Chevella into Kaleshwaram

The birth of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is out of the redesigning of projects taken up by Telangana government after formation of the State in 2014 when it became impossible to carry forward the original Pranahitha-Chevella project taken up by the government of the undivided Andhra Pradesh to tap the un-utilised share in Godavari water to irrigate the upland areas.

Proposed formally by the Institution of Engineers, based on the original idea of retired Chief Engineer P. Venkatrama Rao, Pranahitha-Chevella started taking shape in 2005 when the then Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy decided to go ahead with it. At the stage of line estimates prepared in 2005, the project cost was pegged at ₹17,875 crore with the objective of creating irrigation potential to 12 lakh acres.

Its cost went up to ₹38,500 crore in the detailed project report prepared in 2008 with extension of the project up to Chevella to irrigate 16.4 lakh acres by lifting 165 tmc ft water. The cost was revised again in 2010 to ₹40,300 crore. However, only works pertaining to canal network were taken up as Maharashtra strongly opposed the height of Tummidihatti barrage at 152 m as it would submerge a large area in its territory, including a wild life sanctuary.

Water availability

There was no change in Maharashtra’s stand when approached again in 2014 by Telangana. Getting hydrological feasibility for Tummidihatti also became questionable after the Central Water Commission revised its report on water availability to 165 tmc ft, including Maharashtra’s share of 63 tmc ft in 2015, from its 2010 assessment of 236 tmc ft.

Later, in the redesigning of projects initiated by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao the original project was split into Pranahitha and Kaleshwaram with several modifications in the original plan in the lateral part. With the help of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) survey and study of flows in Godavari at different locations, Medigadda barrage was planned across the river after the confluence of Pranahitha with it.

Based on the suggestion of CWC to increase its capacity to provide assured water for irrigation, Kaleshwaram project can store about 141 tmc ft against 11 tmc ft in Pranahitha-Chevella. Maharashtra agreed to Pranahitha barrage with 148 m height and it has been designed to irrigate 2.5 lakh acres of erstwhile Adilabad district.

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Printable version | Oct 17, 2020 6:11:54 PM |

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