Nation Current Affairs 14 Dec 2016 Telangana: Experts f ...

Telangana: Experts find fault with Kaleswaram and Mallannasagar projects

Published Dec 14, 2016, 2:51 am IST
Updated Dec 14, 2016, 7:21 am IST
Telangana officials defend irrigation plans, to use modern technology for optimal water use.
Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao lays foundation for Kaleshwaram irrigation project. (Photo: DC/File)
 Telangana CM K. Chandrasekhar Rao lays foundation for Kaleshwaram irrigation project. (Photo: DC/File)

Hyderabad: For the first time, the state government said it had a detailed project report ready on the controversial Kaleswaram lift scheme and Mallannasagar reservoir. It said it had not put it in the public domain as a strategy given that “enemies” may use it against the state’s interests. The Opposition had all along said the government was going ahead without preparing the DPR.

Now, a panel of three independent experts has pointed out several lapses in the DPR. Project chief engineer B. Hari Ram faulted the experts’ report and said all was okay.


The 71-page report was prepared and released recently by three experts — Mr K. Raghu who works with the Telangana State Transco, international water consultant Gujju Biksham and data analyst Siva Kumar — who said the project was unviable.

The Opposition is gearing up for a big fight in the ensuing Legislature session. TPCC president N. Uttam Kumar Reddy and T-TD working president A. Revanth Reddy said they had decided to raise the Kaleswaram lift scheme and Mallannasagar reservoir issue in the Winter Session of the Legislature.


There are several key issues ranging from providing water to more than 18 lakh acres in North Telangana districts to the req-uirement of power to lift water and the requirement of funds on which there are divergent opinions.

The experts committee said that while the annual income from Kaleswaram project would be around Rs 4,000 crore, expenditure would be between Rs 17, 876 crore and Rs 33,070 crore. It said changing the headworks from Tammidihatti to Medigadda (Kaleswa-ram) would result in an additional expenditure of Rs 1,254 crore on power consumption and pumping of water from reservoirs and pumping stations.


The committee said Tammidihatti would be a better site compared to Medigadda, and it was possible to accrue all the benefits with the 148-foot barrage at Tammidihatti to which Maharashtra would have no objection. The expert committee said the government claim of irrig-ating 18.25 lakh acres with 200 tmc ft of Godavari water was impossible.

It said Rs 1 lakh  to Rs 1.8 lakh was required to provide irrigation to each crop and each acre annually which included Rs 43,449 to Rs 72,416 towards power expenses, the highest ever expenditure in any lift irrigation scheme in the world. It found fault building the 50 tmc feet capacity Mallannasagar reservoir in an area known to be a lineament zone due to which reservoir induced seismicity could lead to earthquakes.


Detailed project report

Experts: There is no Detailed Project Report (DPR). In absence of this, various aspects of the project is not known.

Government: We have a DPR. But it was not made public as part of our strategy. It will protect the state’s interests from AP’s attempt to delay projects through litigation.

Irrigated area

After its completion, the Kaleswaram project can allocate 169 tmc water for irrigation. But this won’t not enough to irrigate 18.19 acres as claimed by the government.

It is possible as we are using latest water transportation methods. We estimate one tmc of water will irrigate 13,500 acres.


Storage capacity

With the existing power of pumps at Kaleswaram project, Mallannasagar would barely get 90 tmc water required for irrigation. So there was no need for additional 50 tmc storage capacity and five tmc capacity would have been suffice.

We are creating 50 tmc storage capacity as we want to use this storage for carry over capacity in deficit years. This storage is a must as we have to supply water to 12 small reservoirs in four districts.

Structural risks

Normal dam is always constructed across the river. But for the Mallannasagar, it is parallel to the stream. It would create high hydraulic gradient at the downstream creating water logging and artesian conditions.


No reply

Cost of project

The total project cost would be between Rs 90,000 crore and Rs 1.8 lakh crore. The capital cost of providing water for irrigation will be between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 10 lakh per acre. This is the highest cost per acre basis of any irrigation project in the country. Apart from this, operational costs could be in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 1.8 lakh per acre a year.

Their calculation is completely wrong. The total project cost as per DPR is Rs 80,499.71 crore. The original Pranahita-Chevella project was estimated at Rs 38,500 crore in 2008. There are valid reasons for this cost escalation as the storage capacity of the project has been increased from 11 tmc ft to 147 tmc ft. Land acquisition and rehabilitation costs too have increased. How can anyone expect the same construction cost even now after a gap of eight years?


Pumping costs

The yearly pumping cost could be in the range of Rs 7,903 crore and Rs 13,172 crore. Power cost for each acre or crop or year could be between Rs 43,449 and Rs 72,416. For irrigating one acre for one crop under Mallannasagar, electricity cost between Rs 50,489 and Rs 84,148. Reducing power cost in future may be difficult as the governm-ent has tied up for pow-er on long-term basis. The cost would be further higher than other lift irrigation projects due to longer transpor-tation required in unlined canals and higher su-rface area of reservoirs.


The power cost per acre could be in the range of Rs 25,018 (at the rate of Rs 5.65 per unit) and Rs 28, 339 (at the rate of Rs 6.40 per unit). In future, if north and south grids are connected, we may expect per unit power cost may get reduced to Rs 1. 25 and Rs 3.

Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad