Inter-state board of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh to oversee execution of mega project
Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and his Maharashtra counterpart Prithviraj Chavan have signed an agreement to set up an inter-state board (ISB) for speedy execution of the Rs 40,300 crore Pranhita-Chevella lift irrigation project. The agreement was signed on May 5 in New Delhi in the presence of the Union water resources minister, Pavan Kumar Bansal.
The project is planned across the Pranhita river, a major tributary of the Godavari, at Tummidihetti in Adilabad district’s Kouthala mandal. The major part of the project includes a barrage and seven link channels (total length 1,055 km) for lifting and diverting 4,530 million cubic metre (mcm) water to irrigate 663,684 hectares in seven districts of the Telangana region—Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medak, Warangal, Rangareddy and Nalgonda. Besides lift irrigation, the project will also provide 849.5 mcm of drinking water to the twin cities of Hyderabad city and 453.07 mcm to industries.
There were apprehensions that since Andhra Pradesh is waging a legal battle against Maharashtra’s Babli project and eleven other barrages across the Godavari river, Maharashtra will backtrack. The project is one among the 88 mammoth lift irrigation projects included in the Jalayagnam, a pet project of the Andhra Pradesh government.
The chief ministers of the two states will head the joint committee on a rotational basis. The committee will include ministers and secretaries of departments of irrigation, power, finance, revenue and forest from both the sides as members. For the standing committee under the ISB, the irrigation secretaries will be the chairpersons and chief engineers will head the coordination committee on rotational basis.
Doubts persist over funds, power
The cost of the project, which has already been revised from Rs 38,500 crore to Rs 40,300 crore, is the highest outlay for any Jalayagnam project. The Andhra Pradesh government wants Pranhita project to be declared a national project so that the Centre will bear 90 per cent of the cost. The state government has so far spent Rs 1,600 crore on this project.
It is not clear from where the state, which experiences acute power shortage, will pool the power required for the project. The mega projects taken up under Jalayagnam require over 8,600 MW power to operate their pumps and motors to lift water; the Pranhita project alone needs over 3,300 MW. Water will have to be pumped up to a height of over 2,000 feet in stages through 22 lifts, each with a pump house and motor, located at different points to take it to Chevella near Hyderabad. The state at present has a total installed capacity of 16,300 MW power from all sources.