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Delay in Tungabhadra HLC modernisation riles farmers
- All canal modernisation works on the Karnataka side have been completed but in AP, the main beneficiary of the project, the project has become a casualty of power politics
- While some headway was made during Congress rule since 2004, nothing happened under TDP and YSRCP govts which have not considered it a priority
Anantapur-Puttaparthi: The 200-km Tungabhadra high level canal (HLC) modernisation, the two-decade-old dream of the farmers of Kurnool-Kadapa-Anantapur undivided districts has remained a pipe dream due to the Andhra Pradesh government treating it as a non-priority project. Ever since 2019 when YSRCP took over reins of government, nothing much has happened on the irrigation front.
There is a heartburn among farmers over dragging on the crucial project for two decades and the Congress government which made some headway during its two terms since 2004 had failed to complete it. The TDP government too did not treat it as a priority project due to politics taking precedence over the nitty gritty of project execution. In YSRCP rule, all irrigation projects were dwarfed before its welfare agenda.
HLC superintending engineer (SE) Rajasekhar told ‘The Hans India’ that the project faced hassles and works were executed in several phases. A fresh proposal worth Rs 400-odd crore has been sent to the government for the completion of the project. The project works will be activated once the government approved the proposal.
Ironically, all canal modernisation works on the Karnataka side had been completed but in AP, the main beneficiary of the project, the HLC project has become a casualty of power politics of the three parties that ruled the state.
The modernisation works of HLC which was taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 470 crore in 2008 has been pre-closed by the state government. The delay in the execution of Penna Ahobilam Balancing Reservoir (PABR) project stage-1 and II, and the related canal system was the reason for inability of the state to tap its share of waters.
The High Level Canal of TB dam brings Tungabhadra water to Anantapur, which has an allocated share of 32.50 tmc ft. Tungabhadra HLC, which is supposed to bring 32.50 tmc ft, yields only 21 tmc ft due to the siltation and in the last 12 years, the district has been able to draw only between 10 tmc ft and 15 tmc ft, as against its share of 32.50 tmc ft. Last year, when the dam got filled to the brim at least thrice, the state was not able to draw its quota of water. Through the K-C canal diversion, it could get 10 more tmc ft of water. The assured allocation for the district from Krishna and its tributaries is 42.50 tmc ft. However, due to lack of proper canal system, the assured water allocations cannot be utilised fully.
Contractors of all the six packages in HLC Stage-I had applied for pre-closure and work worth Rs 148.6 crore has not been completed. In the HLC Stage-II project for modernisation of HLC’s branch canals, work on Yadiki canal system is nearing completion at a cost of Rs 22 crore and the balance remained plagued with land acquisition problems.
Modernisation works on the 105-km stretch of HLC in Karnataka portion have been completed bringing 4,000 cusecs up to AP border, but the AP portion of the canal is so weak that it cannot carry more than 1,800 to 2,000 cusecs with bunds breaching at several places. The project was to be completed by 2012 without taking a crop holiday but now even in 2023 it could not becompleted.