Objections to PCSS raised in Maharashtra

S. Harpal Singh

Submergence of 50 villages, acres of farm land feared

ADILABAD: Barely a few days after its foundation stone was laid in Adilabad by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, political parties in Maharashtra have started objecting to construction of the ambitious Pranahita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi project.

A major reason for the objections being raised from across the border is the lack of information about the different aspects relating to the Rs. 38,500 crore lift irrigation project.

District units of political parties, including the Congress and the BJP in neighbouring Gadchiroli and Chandrapur, have expressed the apprehension that 50 villages and thousands of acres of agricultural land will be submerged once the Pranahita ‘dam’ is built.

The Pranahita issue is likely to be raised in the Maharashtra Assembly session currently on in Nagpur. Former Chandrapur MP Naresh Puglia of the Congress has said he will take the matter to the notice of the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Prime Minister and AICC president. According to him, Rajura and Gondpimpri tahsils in Chandrapur and Chamorshi and Sironcha in Gadchiroli district are likely to be affected.

Mr. Puglia says Maharashtra has been kept in dark about the project and Andhra Pradesh must be more transparent so that the issue does not snowball into a ‘Babli’ kind of dispute. However, irrigation engineers connected with the project in Adilabad district, say they have already explained details of the project to their Maharashtra counterparts.

Diversion scheme

“It is not a dam. It is just a diversion scheme that envisages storage of just 1.26 tmcft. The water drawal will be only about 22,000 cusecs a day to be routed through canals during the 120 operational days in a year,” says an engineer.

As regards the submergence, he says the height of the barrage will be restricted to the river’s maximum flood level. “The water, therefore, will not spill much outside the banks of Pranahita,” he adds.

LSP dares Ponnala

Hyderabad Special Correspondent writes: The Lok Satta Party (LSP) on challenged Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah for a public debate on the Pranahita-Chevella project on any day and at any forum of his choice.

In a press release, LSP spokesmen Katari Srinivasa Rao and B. Krishna Reddy said that Mr. Lakshmaiah was resorting to personal attacks as he could not effectively rebut criticism that the lift irrigation scheme was unviable. “It is only those who squander public money that harm public interest,” Mr. Rao said.