Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday laid the foundation stone for the second phase of the Somasila High Level Canal project, in a virtual ceremony held through video conferencing. The Chief Minister said that the state government was able to save Rs 68 crore in the second phase of the project, costing Rs 459 crore, by adopting a reverse tendering process. The project was earlier pegged at Rs 527.53 crore.
The canal, when complete, will help irrigate 46,453 acres of land in Duttalur, Winjamur, Udayagiri, Marripada, Anantasagaram and Atmakuru zones, benefiting over 2.5 lakh residents. The tender for the project was finalized for Rs 459 through reverse tendering, which in this case means that the project was given to the lowest bidder. The Chief Minister said that this has helped reduce the burden on the exchequer by Rs 68 crore.
“Utilizing Penna water, I am laying the foundation stone for the second phase of Somashila today, which will provide irrigation and drinking water to the hilly areas of Atmakuru and Udayagiri constituencies in Nellore district,” said Jagan in his media address. “As a government that knows the value of water and the value of agriculture, I am virtually laying the foundation stone today for the second phase of Somashila,” he added.
The canal will irrigate 10,103 acres in Atmakuru constituency and 36,350 acres in Udayagiri constituency, which makes a total of 46,453 acres.
The project will consist of 18.5 kilometres of gravity canals, heart loop reservoirs and cross missionary (CM) and cross drainage (CD) works. The project will also include pumping stations and two electric pressure mains. “We are going to build all of them,” said Jagan.
Under the former TDP government, the project was pegged at Rs 527.53 crore. The YSRCP had objected to the cost of the project at the time. After coming to power, the TDP had opposed the YSRCP government’s approach in the assembly to use reverse tendering while awarding irrigation projects.
The CM informed that the Sangam Barrage and Nellore Barrage in Nellore district are also nearing completion. These projects are expected to be inaugurated by January 2021. He added that steps are being adopted to complete the Polavaram project by 2022, to ensure that water is made available for the Kharif season.
The Andhra Pradesh State government says that they focus on the balanced development of three regions, and has prioritized the irrigation sector by taking up projects in all the three regions. An example of this is the ‘three capitals’ concept that the state has adopted.
Aiming at addressing the drought issue in Rayalaseema, the government initiated a Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Project with Rs 40,000 Crore. It has also initiated the North Andhra Sujala Sravanthi project with Rs 15,000 Crore, where the tenders for first phase will be called soon for Rs 3500 Crore. Tenders will also be called for the YSR Palanadu Karuvu Nivarana (Drought Mitigation) project, along with the Chintalapudi lift irrigation and two other projects on lower Krishna, and one on the upper Krishna River.