Amaravati: The Andhra Pradesh Mission for Clean Krishna-Godavari Canals has not taken off, two years after its ambitious launch, due to a variety of reasons.
"The Mission has been aborted even before take-off," a top official said.
The vision of the Mission was rejuvenating canals and drains in the Krishna and Godavari Delta Systems by stopping water contamination and improving the quality as lakhs of people in Krishna and West Godavari districts depend on the canal water for drinking.
Besides, the water is also a source for irrigation in the districts with a vast ayacut under the command.
The Mission was conceived in September 2019 as the canals in the Deltas have been facing a serious threat due to discharge of increasing quantities of sewage, trade effluents and other pollutants as a consequence of rapid urbanisation and industrialisation.
The quality of water in Krishna and Godavari canals is categorised as C', implying it could be used as drinking water source, with conventional treatment and disinfection. Also, the water contains a high level of coliform bacteria.
The Mission has set certain goals for protecting and restoring the canals and drains in the two Delta Systems to maintain ecological flows by ensuring solid and liquid wastes are treated as per norms and industrial wastes do not contaminate the water.
The government engaged a private agency for preparing a detailed project report for canal rejuvenation and appointed an IAS officer as Mission Director to oversee the project. And then, it gave up the Mission, without assigning any reason.
The Mission required an initial funding of Rs 100 crore for preparing the DPR and starting the sub-projects but the government did not sanction a rupee.
Apart from allocation of a certain amount in the state Budget, the government wanted to use funds from the AP Pollution Control Board, earmarked for control of water pollution, and also tap the corporates for grants under Corporate Social Responsibility.
The government also wanted the public to 'donate' money for the "betterment of canals and drains of Krishna and Godavari Delta Systems."
"Nothing, simply nothing, happened. The Mission has been aborted even before take-off," a top official told PTI.
There are at least 400 drinking water tanks fed by the canals, catering to the needs of lakhs of citizens in tens of villages in Krishna and West Godavari districts.
Eluru city draws water for drinking mainly from the Eluru canal that originates in Vijayawada city, with the water flowing out of river Krishna. Major towns like Machilipatnam and Gudivada also draw water for drinking from the Krishna canals. Close to 3.80 lakh acres of ayacut under the Krishna Eastern Delta is also dependent on water from the canals.
The Vijayawada Municipal Corporation has prepared a detailed project report under the Mission to clean up the three major canals Eluru, Ryves and Bandar that originate in the city as they are "polluted beyond description."
The project was estimated to cost Rs 406.79 crore, including extensive beautification of the bunds, but here again no money was made available for the project, leaving it abandoned.
AP Water Users Associations Federation president Alla Gopala Krishna Rao pointed out that people in about 600 villages in Krishna and West Godavari districts were badly affected because of the pollution in canals.
"We have been saying for long that the canals need to be cleaned up by regulating the outfall drains in Vijayawada. But nothing has worked out so far, he said.
The proposed Inland Waterways project from Kakinada to Chennai provided some hope of cleaning up the canals but that too did not work out, Rao, a former member of the state Water Resources Apex Committee, lamented....