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Andhra govt set to inaugurate country's first lift irrigation project

First pump of this Rs 1,300-cr project was installed and switched on in Sept 2015

B Dasarath Reddy  |  Hyderabad 

Soil and water being sprinkled over Amaravati

Andhra Pradesh government is all set to inaugurate Pattiseema lift irrigation project, described as the first river linking project in country, connecting Godavari with Krishna in this lower riparian state, as it has been completed in a record time of one year.

The first pump of this Rs 1,300-crore project was installed and switched on in September, 2015, about six months after the project contract was awarded to Hyderabad-based Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) on condition to complete the entire project in one year.

The project was designed to lift 80 tmc (trillion metric cubic feet) of flood water in a span of 110 days during the flooding season between July and October from Godavari as was permitted by the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT) from the ongoing Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project.

The government had come up with the idea of building a lift irrigation scheme at Pattiseema village in Polavaram Mandal in West Godavari district in January 2015 to quickly get Godavari water to meet the irrigation needs of Krishna delta, which was started facing increased water shortage in recent times, as the main project was expected to take a longer time.

From this project, water is pumped up to a nearby point and discharged into Polavaram Right Main Canal, which carry water by gravity to a tributary of River Krishna about 170 km away in the neighboring Krishna district above the Prakasham barrage.

The project contains 24 motors and 24 pumps of 6,300 HP and 5,300 HP respectively with a combined capacity to discharge 8,500 cusecs of water.The project requires 113 mw of power to run all the 24 pumps as each motor require 4.7 mw of power to lift the water.

According to MEIL chief general manager Rangarajan, the pumps will consume about 235 million units(mu) of power to lift 80 tmc of water, and that translates into about Rs 131.6 crore in electricity bill as per the tariff of Rs 5.60 per unit proposed for the lift irrigation projects by AP Discons for the year 2016-17.

The water was meant to stabilise 12 lakh acres of existing ayacut besides meeting the second crop requirements of Krishna delta. One tmc of water is adequate to irrigate 10,000 acres of area, according to irrigation engineers.

The company claimed that it has completed the entire project by March 20, 2016. As per the terms of contract, the MEIL is expected to receive an incentive of Rs 268 crore for the timely completion from the government.

Prakasam Barrage, which feeds the Krishna delta( Krishna district-6.79 lakh acres, Guntur district 4.99 lakh acres, West Godavari 0.58 lakh acres and Prakasam 0,72 lakh acres) has about 130 tmc of water allocation but was not receiving its share owing to upstream projects as well as the overall water shortfall in Krishna basin.

Godavari-Krishna linkage will benefit the Krishna delta in terms of timely availability and adequate quantities of water even for raising the second crop, officials say.

The main Polavarm project was declared as a national project under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014 and was being funded by Government of India. Issued administrative approvals with an estimated cost of Rs 4,474 crore in the year 2004, the project cost was raised to little over Rs 16,000 crore by 2010-11 while the head works and main dam were still in the initial stage of progress.

First Published: Thu, March 24 2016. 16:52 IST