Hyderabad: The Sriramsagar Project (SRSP), the lifeline of north Telangana, has become choked with silt. The Centre has asked the Telangana government to take up desilting operations to prevent the project from becoming completely useless.
Though the state has been making plans to have the silt removed for the past few years, those plans have not been executed, as a result of which the project’s storage capacity has reduced drastically.
When the SRSP was built, it had a storage capacity of 112 TMC. A survey conducted in 1983 revealed that the storage capacity had reduced to 90 TMC due to the accumulation of silt.
A hydraulic survey conducted in 2014 revealed that the storage capacity had further reduced to 80 TMC. The survey, which was conducted by the irrigation department, revealed that silt had accumulated from flows received from Maharashtra.
Last week, the Central Water Commission (CWC) sent a letter to the state government seeking the immediate implementation of measures to remove the silt and save the project. The CWC conducted independent studies on the SRSP and found results regarding its storage capacity to be alarming. It immediately alerted the state government and asked it to use ultra-modern dredging machines to have the silt removed.
Irrigation minister T. Harish Rao said that the state government had already initiated efforts to restore the project by launching the SRSP Rejuvenation Project in August 2017 with a budget of `2,000 crore. The Rejuvenation Project was launched by Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao.
The SRSP has been receiving meagre inflows due to the construction of the Babli Project on the Godavari River by the Government of Maharashtra, and drought conditions. The accumulation of silt over the years has further impacted its storage capacity. Resultantly, the northern districts, which fall within the command area of the project, have not been receiving water for irrigation and have been suffering losses in agriculture.