Godavari, Krishna rivers formally interlinked, 18 lakh acre land to get benefittedVijayawada: In what is claimed to be the first-ever river interlinking in the country, Godavari and Krishna rivers in Andhra Pradesh were formally linked on Wednesday with the commissioning of Pattiseema lift irrigation project in
Vijayawada: In what is claimed to be the first-ever river interlinking in the country, Godavari and Krishna rivers in Andhra Pradesh were formally linked on Wednesday with the commissioning of Pattiseema lift irrigation project in Krishna district.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unveiled a pylon at Ferry village near Ibrahimpatnam to formally launch the project, linking the two major rivers.
Amid the chanting of Vedic hymns by the priests, Naidu performed puja at the confluence of the two rivers. His cabinet colleagues and a large number of local people were present.
Naidu later left for Pattiseema in West Godavari district to switch on the first pump of his pet project to release water from Godavari into the Polavaram right main canal that links with the Krishna river upstream of the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.
Water from Godavari will be extracted using pumps just before it merges with the sea through pumpset and will be dumped into Polavaram Right canal, travelling nearly 174 kilometers. Through the canal, the water will reach to Krishna River.
24 pumps are to be installed on Godavari River under this project and will come into operation in several phases. All pumps will become operational by the end of March 2016.
The project is expected to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of drought-prone Rayalseema region and also bring stabilisation under Krishna delta.
Naidu described it as a historic occasion and named the Ferry village as Godavari-Krishna Pavitra Sangamam, which will be developed as a tourism spot.
Naidu, who is an ally of the BJP, recalled that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated the scheme to link rivers and criticised the Congress-led regimes that followed at the Centre for "ignoring" the project.
The project is designed to draw 120 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) from Godavari going waster into the sea and release them into the Krishna. This is expected to change the face of both Rayalaseema and Krishna delta.
Considered rice bowl of India, Krishna delta is facing water shortage due to construction of dams in upstream Karnataka.
Megha Engineering Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has completed the first phase works in less than six months. All the 24 pumps brought from China will be ready for operation by March next year.
Though Naidu had dedicated the project to people on August 15, it could not be commissioned.
Telugu Desam Party-led government is claiming completion of the first phase of this Rs.1,300 crore project as a major achievement.
The project was first mooted in 1950s by eminent engineer K.L. Rao, who was also the central water resources minister. The plan was revived during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government but could be taken up only this year.
Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor (Communications) to Andhra Pradesh government, had told PTI, “The inter-linking of rivers has been on the cards and on the drawing board for a long time, from the days when (eminent engineer) K L Rao was irrigation minister in the Union Cabinet (in 1950s). The plan was revived during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government. But, this is the first-ever time, it has been implemented.”
The linkage of Godavari water with Krishna basin is being made possible by the ‘Pattiseema' lift irrigation scheme on Godavari river at Pattisam village in West Godavari district, he had said.
Rao said the place of confluence of the two rivers near Ibrahimpatnam would be developed as a tourism place.
The project will benefit nearly 18 lakh acre of land in irrigation. Due to the increase in height of Almatti dam in Karnataka, the water level dropped significantly in Krishna river. The water scarcity in the river had brought major irrigation problem in the region.
(With inputs from agencies)