Five new lift irrigation schemes to come up on Godavari

HYDERABAD, JULY 20. A meeting of the Godavari Utilisation Authority, convened by the Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, here on Thursday finalised three lift irrigation schemes originating at Yellampalli, the site selected for construction of a barrage across the river, for immediate grounding for utilisation of 45.75 tmcft of water and listed two other smaller schemes based at Ichampalli and Polavaram, the latter for 5 tmcft, for an urgent investigation.

Out of the three Yellampalli schemes, one will supplement Sriramsagar Project's Saraswathi Canal to the extent of 16 tmcft of water benefiting Adilabad district, the other the NTPC thermal station complex at Ramagundam in Karimnagar district by 10 tmcft and the last, no. 83 and 86 distributaries under the project with 19.75 tmcft. The schemes poised for immediate investigation and project report preparation are improvements to the existing old barrage at Ichampalli with Rs 2 crores as suggested by the Union Minister of State for Home, Mr Ch. Vidyasagar Rao, and a lift at Polavaram to augment supply from Yeleru canal by 5 tmcft and irrigate an additional ayacut of 50,000 acres, pending construction of major projects at a later stage at these two points.

According to the Major Irrigation Minister, Mr M. Venkateswara Rao, who briefed the press later on the deliberations of the meeting, the foundation-stones for the lift schemes will be laid "shortly". GOs have been issued for creation of five new irrigation circles and divisions under them to undertake the investigations. Regarding the originally conceived Ichampalli and Polavaram major projects, he said "prospects are bright now" as the other riparian states--Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh--were asked by the Union Government to depute one chief engineer each to form the Centre-proposed high level committee along with a third such engineer from Andhra Pradesh to sort out inter-State issues.

Answering questions, the Minister stated that Ichampalli would be constructed upto a restricted height of 95 meters to irrigate 1.57 lakh acres but foundations would be laid for a provision of 112-metre height as originally planned. The extra height would be added after consent was obtained from Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh with the help of the high level committee. Similarly, the original "mammoth size" of Polavaram covering an ayacut of 7.19 lakh acres would not be given up.

Mr Venkateswara Rao named Nizamsagar and Dummagudem lifts as the other schemes in the "major" category awaiting grounding, apart from 72 "medium" projects, including Suddavagu, Yerravagu, Lendi (an inter-State project), Pedda Vagu and 289 "minor" projects as the "ongoing" ones envisaging utilisation of 112 tmc ft out of the 793 tmcft remaining unused out of the 1,480 tmcft allocated to Andhra Pradesh.

Now that the Central agencies like Central Water Commission have cleared Sriramsagar Flood Flow Canal project and Sriramsagar Project Stage II, steps are being taken for immediate acquisition of 20,000 acres required for the former. The Chief Commissioner of Land Acquisition, Hyderabad, has been asked to handle the job if necessary by conducting a Lok Adalat, the Minister said, adding most of the land marked for acquisition is lying in Nizamabad and Jagtial areas.

Mr Rao said the Authority would meet on the 20th of every month to review progress of the ongoing works. On the existing lift schemes based on Nagarjunasagar left bank canal becoming defunct due to non-clearance of electricity dues by farmers, he said it was not so. The farmers were willing to clear the arrears, he asserted, ruling out any threat to lift schemes on account of increased electricity tariff.

The meeting was attended by the Ministers for Home, Finance, School Education, Industries, Excise and Tourism--Messrs T. Devender Goud, Y. Ramakrishnudu, K. Srihari, K. Vidhyadhara Rao, T. Nageswara Rao and E. Pedi Reddi.