ANDHRA PRADESH

Panel not for shelving of hydel project

HYDERABAD, MARCH 24. The Technical Committee on Swarna Power Project under construction at Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme, is not going to recommend its shelving.

The five members of the panel have come to a consensus to allow the project with some restrictions protecting the interests of Mahabubnagar farmers without being prejudicial to their Kurnool-Cuddapah counterparts. After inspection of the site last week and a meeting here on Thursday, the panel held that the project in its present form would adversely affect the inflows to the RDS canal to Mahabubnagar and opted a via-media course to satisfy the three stakeholders -- the power project and the two groups of farmers.

When the team visited the site, Karnataka officials were present at the instance of their Government and were ready to implement suggestions, if any, from Andhra Pradesh. To its surprise, the committee learnt that two other mini-hydel projects implemented by Karnataka are already functioning further upstream on Krisnnadevaraya Channel and at Nugur.

Against other projects

Sources said the team wants the State Government to take advantage of the situation and extract an undertaking against implementing any more such projects. It took a serious note of Karnataka not taking the consent of Andhra Pradesh on Swarna project though the latter has 93 per cent share over RDS. A strong letter would have to be addressed to that State.

The committee, it is learnt, is not against Swarna project if it ensures Mahabubnagar canal its entitlement of 850 cusecs. The members welcomed the reported offer of its developer to change the design of the tail-race tunnel so that the water used by the powerhouse would join the Mahabubnagar canal.

Three alternatives have been suggested to the developer if this is not possible for any reason. They are shifting of the intake structure through which the project will draw reservoir water to a far away site upstream, increasing the storage capacity of the reservoir by raising shutters on the anicut, and construction of sluices exclusively for Mahabubnagar canal.

Jurala inadequate

The panel favoured two other steps to benefit Mahabubnagar -- immediate grounding of the Rs. 75-crore modernisation planned for the canal, which will avoid loss due to leakage and bringing of RDS under Thungabhadra Board for impartiality in release of waters to the State. The supplementation to RDS ayacut from Jurala project is not a big help as, Jurala is able to store hardly 9 tmcft against its 17 tmcft full level due to Alamatti, it felt.

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