Hyderabad: Telangana irrigation minister T. Harish Rao on Saturday said that due to the efforts of the state government and steps taken to speed up the works, it was now possible to provide partial irrigation under the ongoing Pranahita scheme through mid-Manair project by December 2017. He said government was serious in bringing at least partial ayacut under the new project to utilise the Godavari waters that are at present unutilised.
In a 2-hour PowerPoint presentation on the controversial Pranahita project, Mr Rao said that at no point of time was there any agreement with Maharashtra government fixing the height of Tammidihatti at 152 meters. He listed out the various objections by Maharashtra during the six years since late Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy laid the foundation stone for the project in 2008. Mr Rao, however assured the people of TS that the government will try to raise the height of Tammidihatti to 152 meters and Medigadda to 101 meters instead of 148 and 100 meters agreed upon by Maharashtra, with the hope that it would able to convince the upstream state after a few years.
Replying to a specific question, Mr Rao said that it would be impossible to raise the height of the barrage at Tammidihatti to 152 meters without taking up works on the opposite bank of the Pranahita which is in Maharashtra. He agreed that there were several irrigation schemes launched by earlier governments within the state for which clearances from other states and the Centre were not obtained.
“In this case, it’s not possible to take up works as we will have to work inside Maharashtra territory and we cannot forcibly enter that state to take up works without its consent,” Mr Rao said. He was highly critical of the comments by Congress and TD leaders that an agreement on 152-meter high Tammidihatti was struck by former AP and Maharashtra Chief Ministers Jalagam Vengala Rao and S.B. Chavan in 1975. “If that was so, why did they not take up construction for the last 40 years? Who are they trying to fool by spreading such false information?” Mr Rao asked.
He distributed a bunch of agreements and details of meetings held by officials of both the states over the past few decades and said “There is no evidence to show that there was an agreement on 152 meters. They have been spreading lies all these days.” Ridiculing the Congress leaders’ claims that the TRS government has changed the alignment of Tammidihatti to facilitate more lift irrigation than through gravity as proposed by them, Mr Rao said, “Present and previous estimates both say that gravity flow is only for 20,000 acres. The remaining areas in Adilabad can be irrigated only through lifting of waters. They proposed 50,000 acres and we proposed 2 lakh acres.”
Referring to the key issue of water availability of 160 tmc ft at Tammidihatti proposed by the previous Congress government which was objected by Central Water Commission which said that total availability may not exceed 102 tmc ft, Mr Rao said to overcome this, the TS government has proposed three more barrages in addition to Tammidihatti. At Medigadda, the availability is estimated at 275 tmc ft which will be sufficient to meet the irrigation needs of over 18 lakh acres.
He said the present irrigation sources in TS like Sriramsagar Stage 1 and 2, flood flow canal, lower Manair Dam, Nizamsagar and Singur were getting dried up due to several reasons including insufficient inflows. By taking up Pranahita lift irrigation scheme, it would be possible to supplement ayacut under all these north-Telangana projects, he said.