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Tummilla project to be completed in 6 months: Harish Rao

Gadwal: Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao laid the foundation for the construction of the much-awaited Tummilla Lift Irrigation Scheme at Tummilla village in Jogulamba Gadwal district on Monday, which aims at ending the woes of the farmers belonging to erstwhile Mahabubnagar district. The Minister said that the project would be completed within six months and the Chief Minister, K Chandrashekhar Rao, will inaugurate it by releasing water for the kharif season.

“Injustice was meted out to the farmers of erstwhile Mahabubnagar district in undivided Andhra Pradesh in terms of water sharing from Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS). Even before the formation of Telangana, KCR knew that the only way to work around this problem was to build another project on Tungabhadra River to make maximum use of water to fill the gap between the proposed acreage under ayacut and the actual area being cultivated,” the Minister said. “KCR had promised the people during the general elections in 2014 that he would address the injustice without getting into a confrontation with the neighbouring State through lifting water from Tummilla,” the Minister further added.

The State is spending nearly Rs 782 crore on the project. In the first phase, the government had sanctioned Rs 169 crore. Three pumps would be installed at the project site, in which two pumps would lift flood waters for 90 days into the Rajolibanda canals and one pump would lift the water into the reservoir. According to sources, a high-level canal is also under proposal to irrigate lands in Gattu mandal through Tummilla project.

Raw deal for Palamur

In undivided Andhra Pradesh, Telangana region didn’t receive its due share in water as it was illegally diverted to several other projects in the Andhra and Rayalaseema regions. The Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS), which was designed during the Nizam’s era and was constructed between 1943 and 1949 across Tungabhadra River, was also one such project which didn’t receive its due share.

During that time, allotment of water to united Mahabubnagar was 30 tmcft and a total ayacut of 87,500 acres was proposed for irrigation in Mahabubnagar/Telangana (82,000 acres) and Karnataka (5,000 acres). As encouraging as the numbers may seem, the farmers of drought-prone Mahabubnagar were not given their due share for all these decades. Though 30 tmc ft was allocated to Rayalaseema region through this project, till today they draw about 100 tmc ft without any authorisation.

During the construction of the project, six river sluices were left open and water continues to flow unobstructed till date, making Telangana devoid of its rightful share. In the past, attempts of engineers to rectify the problem drew a backlash, as the project is located at the boundary between Rayalaseema and Telangana regions.

YSR’s plans

In 2007, Dr YS Rajashekara Reddy ordered modernisation of the anicut. This work included strengthening of the anicut, lining of canals, construction of structures, repair of distributaries and silt removal — all in eight packages.

Under package 1, Rs 3.20 crore for strengthening the anicut, gates and removal of silt was supposed to be done. Under package 2, Rs 25 crore for building 14 structures and lining of 15 km of canals was supposed to be done. For all the eight proposed packages, the total expenditure incurred was Rs 92 crore during the then government’s rule. The height of the anicut was also supposed to be increased by two inches.

Package 1 and package 2 (which are the critical works) were not completed, while the works under the six other packages were completed then. The contractor under package 2, in the past, had completed only 7 km lining of canals and constructed six structures. Eight structures were not constructed.

In 2017, Telangana government gave another Rs 10 crore for completion of package 1 works and Rs 28 crore for completion of package 2 works. The works which are in progress are expected to be completed by June/ July 2018. Situation was such that last year only 25,000 acres could be irrigated through that project.

The problem was severe and it was snatching away livelihoods of the people from the present Gadwal district, pushing the farmers to the verge of migration to earn their daily bread, and rendering their children to drop out from school.

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from Telangana – Telangana Today

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