Pranhita irrigation project: Maharashtra agrees to form inter-state board

Will help irrigate 663, 684 hectares in seven districts in Telangana region

By M Suchitra
Published: Monday 30 January 2012

Even as Andhra Pradesh is waging a legal battle against Maharashtra’s Babli project and eleven other barrages across the Godavari river, Maharashtra has agreed to its neighbour’s proposal for constituting an Inter State Board (ISB) for implementing the Rs 40,300 crore mega Pranhita-Chevella lift irrigation project. With this green signal, Andhra Pradesh has overcome a major hurdle in making its dream project a reality.

The project
  • Estimated cost :
    Rs 40,300 crore
  • Diversion of water from Pranhita river :
    160 TMC
  • Net Command Area :
    6.56 lakh hectare
  • Total Length of the System :
    1,055 km (Approx.)
  • Total Lift Height : 493 M
  • Power Requirement :
    3,300 MW
  • Energy Required :
    8,250 Million Units
  • Land required :
    31,970 hectare
  • Cost /hectare :
    Rs 2.2 lakh
  • Submergence of forest:
    1,879.40 ha

Date of completion : 2017-18
The project, Dr B R Ambedkar Pranhita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi Project (PCSSP), was announced in 2007 by the ruling Congress government of Andhra Pradesh which was then headed by late Y S Rajasekhara Reddy. The project is planned across the Pranhita, 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 for lifting and diverting 160 TMC water to irrigate 663,684 hectares in seven districts in the Telangana region. The government claims 1,560 villages in Adilabad, Nizamabad, Karimnagar, Medak, Warrangal, Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts will benefit from the project. Besides lift irrigation, the project will also provide 30 TMC of drinking water to Hyderabad city and 16 TMC to industries.

Though the neighbours signed the agreement for the Pranhita project way back in 1975, Andhra Pradesh did not take up any mega project in the 1980s and 1990s. In 2005, the then chief minister included the project in his pet Jalayagnam project (86 projects at an estimated cost of Rs 1,85,000 crore). The state government had faced severe criticism from all quarters for calling tenders and giving Rs 1,150 crore to contractors as survey and investigation advance in 2007 even before getting the in-principle clearance from the Central Water Commission (CWC). The CWC gave in-principle clearance only in April 2010. The project was to be completed by December 31 this year.

There were apprehensions that in the wake of the ongoing disputes over Godavari waters, Maharashtra will backtrack. But Maharashtra’s principal secretary of water resources in his communication to Adityanath Das, secretary, irrigation (Telangana) said that ISB could be formed at the earliest. The ISB, which will have chief ministers of both states, concerned ministers and officials, will act as an overall in-charge of investigation, survey and execution of the project.

As per the communication, the ISB’s office will be located at Hyderabad. There is provision for holding meetings in Mumbai, too. A standing committee headed by secretary, irrigation, Andhra Pradesh, will be formed to guide the ISB. Apart from this, a coordination committee will also be formed for implementing  the project.

Once the Board is formed, Andhra Pradesh government hopes the project would be completed in 2017-18. But considering the huge amount of money and power required for the project, it’s unlikely that the state would be able to complete the project in five years. The estimated cost of the project has already escalated from Rs 38,500 crore to Rs 40,300 crore. Besides, the budget allocation for the project in the past five years is only Rs 600-700 crore.  Even if the state allocates Rs 1,000 crore a year, it will take more than 40 years to complete the project. It is also not clear from where the state will pool 3,300 MW power required for the project.

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