ANDHRA PRADESH

Inauguration of Gundlakamma project delayed

Special Correspondent

ONGOLE: Though the Rs. 450 crore Gundlakamma project has been completed in all aspects, water could not be released due to problems in acquiring 170 acres necessary for canal excavation.

While farmers complain that the irrigation officials had changed the canal alignment and forced them to resort to litigation, Congress leaders feel that the farmers are stalling the project for political reasons.

Irrigation officials want the revenue officials to invoke their powers and acquire the land through compulsory award by February end so that they can complete the canals and release water to the entire ayacut by August for kharif crop. Canals are ready to release water only to 20,000 acres now, they point out.

Chief Minister, Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy, had promised to release water to the entire ayacut of 80,000 acres by August 2007 itself.

So he is fighting shy to release water only to partial ayacut now. So the project inauguration is getting delayed.

Fast track project

The Congress-I Government took up Gundlakamma as one of the fast track projects in 2004 and wanted to complete it in two years. Four villages get submerged fully and six other villages partially under the project. Revenue officials were required to acquire 10,890 acres and rehabilitate the affected families.

They patted themselves for acquiring 9,700 acres in a record time through consent awards and almost completed the painstaking process of rehabilitation.

But they got bogged down in acquiring land required for canal formation. Revenue officials felt that it would be relatively easy to acquire land for canal because farmers would get water for large chunk of land even though they lose some land for canal formation. They were proved wrong.

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