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Pranahita nod not likely anytime soon

Pranahita nod not likely anytime soon
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Highlights

The Centre is waiting for a comprehensive report on the Pranahita-Chevella Lift Irrigation Project from the Telangana government. The State should prove that the project is technically viable and would benefit a large number of people in terms of serving their irrigational and drinking water needs so that the capital investment will be proportionate in the Godavari basin.

New Delhi: The Centre is waiting for a comprehensive report on the Pranahita-Chevella Lift Irrigation Project from the Telangana government. The State should prove that the project is technically viable and would benefit a large number of people in terms of serving their irrigational and drinking water needs so that the capital investment will be proportionate in the Godavari basin.

  • State sending reports, CWC seeking inputs
  • National status a long-winding process: CWC
  • Project cost estimated to be `40,000 cr
  • Centre has funded no project of this size

In an exclusive interview to The Hans India, Central Water Commission Chairman Ashwin B Pandya said the project is big and unique, but there are lots of technicalities which have to be sorted out. Telangana engineers need to explain barrages, canals and lifting of water from lower level to higher level are technically feasible.

Pandya said, “We are receiving reports, but we are also making value additions so that there will be modifications and additions to the project so as to make it feasible.” The first step in getting clearance for this project before it is declared as a national project is to get the nod from the Central Water Commission (CWC) which should be convinced by the state government’s report, then the report will be sent to the Ministries of Water Resources and Finance, and thereafter for the final Cabinet approval.

Pandya said the Centre has sought information on issues like construction and operational mechanism of canals, availability of electricity in lifting the water from lower level to higher level among others. The TS government wants the project to be declared as the National Project so that it becomes the responsibility of the Centre to fund the project, but it is going to take many more months and possibly more than a year to get past the basic stage.

When asked about when the project would get its clearance from CWC, Pandya said, “It is difficult to answer… it depends upon the report of the engineers and the answers to the questions they give. It is just the beginning.” The project is a composite one involving smaller and medium projects with the main one on the river Pranahita in Adilabad district.

The project is expected to benefit seven districts of Telangana by utilising 160 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) of water for cultivation and in giving drinking water to Hyderabad, but the estimated cost is Rs 40,000 crore. There is no project of this magnitude that the Centre has agreed to fund.

The biggest challenge to the project is more on the technical viability side than on environmental aspects and inter-state disputes and availability of electricity which the experts have put it at 2,500 MW to lift the water from lower to higher canals. Moreover, Telangana State is a power-deficit state and relies heavily on the Centre and neighbouring states. The CWC will ultimately apprise the Union Ministry of Water Resources based on its appraisals on the project. And, it has to convince CWC first, Pandya added.

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