The Andhra Pradesh government is forging ahead with a clear-cut policy objective while achieving the irrigation targets. It has put in place an effective action plan. Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has issued the instructions to complete the pending irrigation projects as per the decided timelines. He has also announced new projects with an outlay of Rs 96550 crore to be spent in the coming five years. Of these, Rs 84092 crore would be spent for the existing projects. Another Rs 72458 crore would be spent for the new projects. A special purpose vehicle (SPV) is sought to be set up to mop up funds for these projects.
The Government, which is aiming to wrap up the Polavaram project works by the end of the next financial year, is also focusing on other irrigation projects. The Left and the Right main canals of the Polavaram project were completed during the reign of late YS Rajasekhar Reddy. But the works on the main reservoir progressed at snail’s pace during the reign of later governments. To correct this, the Government has cancelled the old contract and entrusted the work to the Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited. Since then, the project works have picked pace.
As of now 71.46 per cent of the project works have been completed. The remaining works are the most crucial works. During the last six months, the MEIL has completed around 2.80 lakh sq metres of spillway concrete and spillway channel works.
At the same times the earth, stone and concrete works on the spill channel power house and Gap 1,2 and 3 are progressing at a fast pace. In addition, the works on the Spillway Concrete Bridge have been going on even in times of heavy floods. Concomitantly, the works on the hydel project are also happening at a brisk pace. The MEIL engineering officials claim that the works on the Upper and Lower Coffer dam, spill channel, pilot channel and Gap 1,2 and 3 would be taken up soon after the flood recedes.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has fixed three priority levels for the irrigation projects. As part of it, budgetary allocations have been made for the completion and operationalisation of few projects by next year. Few other projects would be finished in three years time and yet others in four years time.
Fund crunch is proving to be the biggest stumbling block for the implantation of these objectives. To overcome this, five SPVs have been set up. They are:
- SPV 1 – to spend Rs 39980 crore to alleviate drought in Rayalaseema region.
- SPV 2 – to spend Rs 8787 crore to complete the irrigation projects of the North Coastal Andhra in the coming five years.
- SPV 3 – To mop up Rs 12702 crore in the coming five years for the AP State Water Protection and Development Scheme.
- SPV 4- Rs 7636 crore to be spent on the Palnadu Drought Mitigation Programme which mainly includes the Godavari-Krishna-Pennar linkage.
- SPV 5 – mopping up Rs 3356 crore for the Krishna-Kolleru Salinity Mitigation Programme.
This is a unique initiative and shows how strategically the AP Government is moving forward mainly due to the impetus provided by Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The Chief Minister has recently conducted a review meeting on the progress of various irrigation projects, including Polavaram and the projects in the North Andhra, with the officials. He has directed the officials to complete the projects as per the set priorities and timelines.
Rs 39980 crore to be spent in coming five years
The Chief Minister has also directed the officials to expedite the works on Nellore Barrage, Sangam Barrage, Avuku Tunnel 2, Pula Subbaiah Veligonda Head Regulator, Vamsadhara-Nagavali Link, BRR vamsadhara Project Stage 2 and second phase of Polavaram works.
He has also directed the officials to provide the Relief and Rehabilitation (R and R) packages to the affected farmers. He has also said that while the earlier government had given a package of Rs 6.75 lakh, the present government was giving Rs 10 lakh per acre. He called upon the officials to take a humane view while implementing the R and R package. He also directed the officials to ensure that at least 23 TMC of water was stored in the Gandikota Reservoir and 10 TMCs in Chitravathi Balancing Reservoir. He also asked the officials to expedite the works on Nellore Barrage and Sangam Barrage by November this year and complete the second tunnel works in Pula Subbiah Veligonda Project Head Regulator by August next year. As for the Polavaram project’s Head Works and Canal works, the MEIL has already accomplished 71 per cent of the works. It has speeded up works so as to complete them by December next year. The project gates have already been fabricated and 48 gates would be installed by April next year.
Special Focus on Pending Projects in North Andhra
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has also laid special emphasis on the speedy completion of the irrigation projects in the North Andhra region. Efforts are on to complete the Vamsadhara-Nagavali link by December this year. The total project length is 33.5 km, of which only 8.5 km remains to be completed. As for Vamsadhara Stage 2 works, efforts are on to complete them by March next year. Projects such as Vamsadhara and Jhanjhavathi have inter-state ramification and discussions would soon be taken up with Odisha CM on these projects.
According to the irrigation officials, at least 108 villages in Nandigam, Meliaputti, Palasa and Tekkali mandals would be benefited once the Offshore reservoir on the Mahendratanaya reservoir in Srikakulam gets completed. This would also irrigate 24600 acres. The total project cost is Rs 850, of which Rs 350 crore have already been spent. The Tarakarama Teertha Sagar reservoir project would be completed by December 2022. The officials also said that 55000 acres would be additionally brought under irrigation once the distributaries of the Thotapalli Barrage get completed.