Atmakuru (Kurnool): The remaining works at Pothireddypadu project main canal, also known as Srisailam Right Main Canal (SRMC) expansion, and at Banakacharla project are progressing at a snail’s pace for the past eight years. The projects are aimed at irrigating 5.80 lakh acres in Rayalaseema. 

Under the current situation, the engineering experts predict that it will take at least two years to bring works to a certain level. According to reports, the SRMC, whose capacity has been augmented from 11,000 to 44,000 cusecs, is intended to carry 114 tmc ft of Srisailam project backwaters to Rayalaseema to irrigate lands in the region.  The canal expansion works commenced in 2007, but remained pending for the past eight years. 

The 16-km Pothireddypadu main canal was built in 1998. The canal supplies water for drinking and irrigation to Kurnool, Kadapa and Chittoor districts. In 2005, the State government augmented its capacity to 44,000 cusecs and relevant works were grounded in 2007. Since then the progress has been tardy. 

The pending works include building a road bridge at the 14th km, strengthening standard bund to prevent canal ramps from erosion, rebuilding of three regulators of Banakacharla cross regulator complex that were washed away in the unprecedented floods in 2009 and desilting of escape channel, SRBC and Telugu Ganga canals. Yet, the State government disbursed Rs 12 crore to contractors towards clearing their bills. 

So far the government had spent Rs 180 crore on the expansion works listed under 24th and 25th package. The quantum of works to be still executed is valued at Rs 20 crore. The works came to a standstill as the contractor sought revision of estimates.

The Banakacharla cross regulator complex should release 19 tmc ft to Telugu Ganga providing irrigation facility to 1,14,500 acres and should supply an additional 15 tmc to Chennai to meet drinking water needs. It should release 10 tmc ft through KC escape channel to irrigate 78,070 hectares and irrigate 1,88,788 through Srisailam Right Branch Canal (SRBC).