Patil moots plan to increase TB dam height

Bangalore Sept. 6. The Water Resources Minister, H.K. Patil, today mooted the idea of raising the height of the Tungabhadra dam by two feet to store an additional five to eight tmcft. of water in it to be utilised by farmers of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.

Addressing presspersons here after a meeting with his Andhra Pradesh counterpart, Kadiam Srihari, on Tungabhadra and Jurala projects, and the Rajolibanda diversion scheme, Mr. Patil said the storage capacity of the dam had been reduced by 21 tmcft. of water due to the accumulation of silt. The loss had to be made good by increasing the height from 1,633 feet to 1,635 feet.

He said Mr. Srihari had reacted positively to the proposal and would convey the opinion of his State at the earliest. The Tungabhadra Dam Board would constitute a committee if both States agreed to it.

He said he had suggested that the board could explore modernisation of the dam as per the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme envisaged by the Union Government.

Expressing happiness over resolving some pending issues with Andhra Pradesh, the Minister said short-term and long-term plans would benefit farmers of both States. The two Ministers asked the board Chairperson, V.K. Jyothi, to work out strategies and an action plan to maintain and modernise the old dam canal system. The board should be proactive, he added.

Both the Ministers reviewed the progress made in relief and rehabilitation works in the Jurala project. They expressed satisfaction that most of the problems had been sorted out and the rest would be solved shortly.

On the proposal by Andhra Pradesh for modernising the Rajolibanda diversion scheme, Mr. Patil said Karnataka had agreed to it. It would be taken up on the basis of the procedure already in place.

He had raised the issue of a bridge-cum-barrage on Jahirabad-Nanded Road across the Karanja in Andhra Pradesh. Construction of a barrage by closing the bridge would result in reduced flow of water to Bidar, he added.

According to an understanding reached in 1975 between the two States, the bridge should not be closed for storing water, Mr. Patil said.

Mr. Srihari said that he would react to it later.

Mr. Srihari said that he had invited Mr. Patil to Hyderabad next month for a wide range of discussions on a bigger agenda. The two States had agreed to continue the dialogue on existing and new problems and would bear the cost on modernisation of the Tungabhadra dam.

He said the dam had breached 19 times and 1,000 cusecs of water was wasted daily. The release of water should be on pro rata basis.

The rescheduling of water release would start today itself, he added.

On impounding water in the Jurala dam, Mr. Srihari said his State had paid Rs. 20 crore of the Rs. 42 crore to Karnataka and hoped that relief and rehabilitation works would be completed this season itself.

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