The Telengana government has been working on an ambitious irrigation project on Godavari River by creating barrages and underground storage tanks along the River.
The projects envisage using reverse pumping technique with an investment of Rs 85000 crore for the entire project. The government claims that the project that was conceived in 2007-08 but actual work started after the K Chandrashekar Rao government has taken over the state. The project will also take care of the drinking water problem of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
Telengana irrigation, marketing and legislative affairs minister T Harish Rao said that at the time of formation of Telangana three issues - water, funds and employment - were the main concerns before the people. "We decided to take up the irrigation issue on priority which could help us manifold. Kleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project after its completion in 2022 will be able to irrigate 37.08 lakh acres of land of 20 out of the 31 districts of Telengana while with the completion of its first phase it will be able to irrigate 18.82 lakh acres of land," said Harish Rao.
The minister said that a project like Kaleshwaram was the only option before the state government as the water level of Godavari was 100 metres below the irrigable land of the state so lifting water above the land was the only option and Kaleshwaram project is designed in such a way that water is collected in underground tunnels through reverse pumping to make it available to farmers. This project is going to benefit not in terms of irrigating huge tract of land but also fishing industry, increase groundwater level, yield to increase up to 20 per cent by surface water irrigation, tourism, biodiversity and quality of food grain will also be better.
On being asked that the government is in hurry as this is election year the minister answered, "The project will provide manifold benefits to people. Moreover, we are a party borne out of a movement that is we have been able to deliver. The CM himself is monitoring the project on day-to-day basis. We don't believe in sloganeering and we work for the state in a similar manner to benefit people of the state."
The minister said that Telengana was able to do it in record time with all necessary approval from the Central government and respective departments. "This was made possible as we negated all such hurdles that is caused in such irrigation project mainly land acquisition and all. This is the only project in which 88 big pumps are installed by which water will be lifted from 100 to 600 metres deep and sending it to 400 kilometres by reverse pumping. "The project will change the face of districts of northern Telengana like Karimnagar, Rajanna, Sirsilla, Siddipet, Medak, Yadgiri, Nalgauda, Sangareddy, Nizamabad, Jagityal, Kamareddy, Nirmala, Medchal and Pedapalli.
However, the irrigation minister was of the view that the Telengana government should have been given assistance in its irrigation projects. The chief minister of the state had recently met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, however, no ice was broken. But the minister insisted that if the Centre declares any of the project as national project 20 per cent Centre's assistance is given to the project. Telengana has none such Central project so far. "We were informed that the Centre was not declaring any project as national project but with Union minister Nitin Gadkari recently gave national project status to one or two projects of Maharashtra giving us some hope that Telengana might also get benefited," the minister added.