Mahaboobnagar irrigation projects
Prof. R. Ramesh Reddy
Osmania University, Hyderabad.
Water is a precious gift of nature to mankind and is one of the essential elements to sustain life and important input in socio-economic development of the country. Agriculture, power, industry, livelihood, social welfare and recreation all depend upon this input. Availability of water and development of water resource facility enabled the development of different regions. Regions lacking such development remained underdeveloped and infact have degraded their natural resources. Mahaboobnagar is a classic example of such situation.
Mahaboobnagar is the largest district in Telengana region and is among the top three larger districts in Andhra Pradesh in terms of the spread, with geographical area of 18.4 Lakh hectares. The entire district is covered under Krishna River Basin. The river Krishna with its tributaries Bheema and Tungabhadra enters in to Andhra Pradesh in Mahaboobnagar district. However, the percentage of irrigation potential to cultivable area is 11.4% only and to the geographical area it is less than 5%. The normal rainfall was 650mm it fell to 534 mm being among the lowest three districts in the state. At present a combination of factor failed rainfall alternate year and overtapping of ground water, resulted in ground water levels falling from 3 to 25 metres in 97% of the area. With a string of minor irrigation structures this district suffered from official apathy, leading to decimation of its resources. Further irrigation investments have not been commensurate with its area, potential and contribution to the Krishna River. The rights of the people in this District over the Krishna waters have not been recognized widely. It is high time that Mahaboobnagar perennially in the grip of desertification and continuous drought, is the destination for priority Irrigation investments. There are highly conducive conditions for such development, except that it needs political will and political will alone.
The Mahaboobnagar district, which is predominantly drought prone area, has no major streams or sub-river basins, which contribute any appreciable water resources. Though in terms of physical area it is the largest catchment of Krishna valley but its precarious minor irrigation water resources, there is uncertainty of normal rainfall, the flows in the local streams is also uncertain. There is continuous drought year together with the disturbed water level going down below whethering zone. The second factor is acute shortage of drinking times in the last 50 years which can only be rectified by a massive reinvestment of water resources to the tune of about 100 TMC from the river Krishna which is the lifeline of the district.
Krishna Water Dispute Tribunal in its report (vide page 288 para 2 & 3) expressed its concern at deprived situation of Mahaboobnagar district in terms of water allocation on account of reorganization of states.
It is now well established the fact that the district of Mahaboobnagar is the most backward in all respects. No less a Persian than Bachawat in his order on sharing of Krishna water observed.
“That the state of Andhra Pradesh no doubt, has been allocated enough water for historical reasons, but still Telengana part of the State of Andhra Pradesh Stands in need of irrigation. The area of Mahaboobnagar district formed part of Hyderabad state and had there been no division of state, there where better chances for the residents of this area to get irrigation facilities in Mahaboobnagar district. We are of the opinion that this area should not be deprived of the benefits of irrigation on account of the re-organizations of state”.
“We cannot conceive that the state of Andhra Pradesh having put forward the claim for allocation of water for Telangana region and having received an allocation of water for Telengana region and having received an allocation for use in that region would use it else where out side that region.
(Bachawat Award 1972)
Vide page 288, para 2+3
In the circumstances explained above the district is reeling under continuous drought conditions and is now deprived of water even for its minimum needs of irrigation and drinking water, despite its large contribution to the Krishna River. Though Srisailam project has displaced many villages due to submersion, there have not been substantial benefits to the people of the district. People of this district have served the national interests amply and adequately but not get anything in turn. They had paid the price, and are now facing the consequences of drought and deprivation.
The present power hike is yet another slap on the face of the farmer, which forces us to stop all farming operations. Further annual increase of 15% on power will result in dispensing with agricultural operations and sale of lands. The present enhanced power rate is likely to have an adverse impact on all the proposed lift irrigation projects rendering them into non remunerative projects.
People of this district have a right over the waters of the Krishna River. Irrigation investments have to be made on priority to cater to the basic minimum needs of the area. The Government should work out the program as a package.
II. Review of Committed Projects
It is to be noted that Sri. Chandra Babu Naidu immediately after he became the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh in 1995 has voluntarily adopted this district for its intensive development. He has announced to take up the following three lift irrigation projects for intensive development of the district).
(a) Bhima Lift irrigation Scheme taken up in two stages:
Stage-I- Lifting water at Panchadeve pad and Stage II lifting water at Okuchetti Vagu Reservoir to irrigate 2.0 Lakh acres at a cost of Rs.742 Crores with water requirement of 20 TMC and power consumption of 58.5 MW. The required 20 TMC of assured water is transferred from the modernization of Krishna delta system. Electricity Board has agreed to provide 58.7 MW of power. CWC has given Techno-Economic clearance in its 64 th Meet dt.3.4.1996, subject to obtaining environmental clearance and clearance of various other items as conditioned by CWC on 3.4.199.
While this process of getting clearance of various agencies is being attended, the AP Government have proposed Sangambanda flow irrigation project for 15,900 acres @ a cost of Rs.141 crores and applied to accelerated irrigation benefit program (AIBP) for financial assistance and proposes to complete the construction by 2002 AD. No doubt this ayacut under flow irrigation ultimately forms part of Bhima Lift Irrigation Stage-I, still is not Bhima Lift Irrigation Projects as Contemplated earlier. The Honble C.M. has laid the foundation of Sangambanda project on 30.12.1995. The original contemplated Bhima Lift Irrigation Project to irrigate 2.00 lake acres is yet to be take-up. This is still in the initial stages investigation to satisfy the CWC for final clearance.
(b) Nettampad Lift Irrigation Scheme:
This project envisaged to irrigate 2.00 Lakhs acres in two stages:-
Stage-I: Lifting water to Guddemdoddi Tank and Stage II lifting water from Guddemdoddi Tank to Relempad Tank, This scheme requires 15.4. T.M.C. of water and 59.5 M.W. of power costing Rs.789 Crores. The detailed report after investigation is submitted to Government for administrative sanction.
In the mean while a truncated Nettampad Lift Irrigation Scheme is proposed in GOMS NO: 536 dated 23.12.1997. for irrigating 27,000 acres costing Rs.79 cores and of water required of 2.60 TMC. An amount of Rs.5.00 cores is provided for preparing detailed estimates and getting clearance only from CWC.
This truncated scheme thou forms part of originally envisage Nettampad Lift Irrigation Scheme is not the Nettampad Lift Irrigation Scheme as contemplated earlier.
(c) Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme:
This scheme contemplates to irrigate 2.50 Lakhs acres lifting water from SriSailam reservoir as source. It cost Rs.1200 Crores, water required is 25 TMC and required power is 290 MW. Survey report submitted is pending in State Government.
While this is so, a truncated Molachintalapalli (Regimangadda) Lift Irrigation Scheme is take up. GOMs No: 692 dated July 3, 1999 proposes to irrigate 50,000 acres costing Rs.232.73 crores. Rs.5.0 crores is allocated for preparing detailed estimate of the truncated scheme for getting clearance form CWC. No water is being allocated in the said GO. The Honorable CM has laid the foundation stone on 5.7.1999. Although this forms part of kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme, this is not the originally conceived Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme for 2.5 Lakh acres.
This is latest position of the three Lift Irrigation Scheme as assured by the CM of Andhra Pradesh.
III. Possible Resources
All the CM’s committed projects i.e. Bhima, Nettampad and Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Projects require power. The available resources in Krishna River could be utilized to generate power.
i) On going Jurala Hydro Power Project where Rs.30 Crores is already spent in constructing power blocks and Central Electric Authority has cleared in all respects and the Govt. is on the verge of calling Global Tenders for construction. This produces 222MW. Of Power. 111MW. Belongs to A.P. share.
ii) Lower Jurala hydro Power Project having capacity to produce 222MW. Awaits CEA clearances since 1998. this is an independent State project requires no clearance as it’s cost is less than Rs.1000 crores as per central directive.
iii) A thermal project of the capacity equal to that of Shaktinagar Power project at Raichur (Karnataka) (utilizing coal fro Singareni coal fields and water from Krishna) requires to be necessarily taken up for balancing on equal terms.
iv) Thus the total power available will be 555 MW is more than sufficient to run the CM’s committed Lift Irrigation Schemes.
v) The required coal for the proposed Thermal project as well as Shaktinagar transport cost could be reduced by completing the Gadwal-Raichur Link railway line whose construction is in progress.
vi) Natural justice and Riperian rights compels Mahaboobnagar district to be the first benefitciary in Andhra Pradesh State.
IV. Alternate Possibility
While the contemplated three Lift Irrigation involves an investment of about Rs.2000 crores; the Almatti dam canal projecting into Andhra Pradesh can possibly completed with the said amount and requires no recurring expenditure. Considering the Almatti dam elevation of +512.0 mts., it is possible to conceive a canal at +480.0 mts., contour irrigating 65% of Mahaboobnagar district and integrated network of canals could also be considered as mutually beneficial projects between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. This could be in tune with Bachawat statement “that nothing is impossible with mutual cooperation”. This could be an Inter-State project benefiting mutually and the required canals can be completed within three years by mechanization, as the Almatti dam is almost completed and Karnataka is having surplus water. The Andhra Pradesh state can contemplate on this suggestion. Thus this project can be cleared by CWC and can be included in Plan budget.
V. Final Word.
Finally it is concluded that despite of Chandrababu having adopted Mahaboobnagar district since 1995 and having laid foundation stones for two of the projects and having allocated 20 TMC for Bhima and 2.61 TMC for Nettampad Lift Irrigation Scheme, nothing concrete has evolved till this day. Every action of the Government has stopped at the G.O. stage. We in the interest of the district have placed before you the above requests number of times. We have traveled all over the district. The people are thoroughly disillusioned and disappointed at the indifferent attitude of the State Government. If nothing concrete takes place in the coming few months, the people of this district will be fully justified in believing that the solutions to our problem does not lie in the State of Andhra Pradesh.