In another gesture aimed at improving ties with the neighbouring states, Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Wednesday invited his Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh counterparts as chief guests for the inauguration of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project on June 21.
Rao spoke to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis over the telephone on Wednesday and invited him for the event.
According to the chief minister's office (CMO), Devendra Fadnavis accepted the invitation and expressed his consent to attend the inauguration of the project.
KCR, as he is popularly known, will visit Mumbai shortly to personally extend an invitation to Fadnavis.
Earlier, the CMO said KCR decided to invite his Andhra Pradesh counterpart YS Jagan Mohan Reddy as the chief guest.
The CMO said KCR would visit Vijayawada shortly to invite Jagan Reddy to the event.
Built on the Godavari river, the project is expected to change the face of Telangana.
The foundation stone for the project was laid in 2016 after Telangana and Maharashtra solved their disputes over sharing of Godavari waters. The agreement between the two states cleared the decks for the project.
YSR Congress Party (YSRCP) chief Jagan Reddy as the then Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh had opposed it and accused Telangana of diverting Godavari waters. He had also accused then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu of failure to protect the state's interests.
The ambitious Kaleshwaram Lift irrigation project costs Rs 80,000. Built on the Godavari river, it comprises three barrages, a series of pump-houses and storage tanks. The first phase of the project is expected to help irrigate 18.82 lakh acres of land.
All the three phases of the project are expected to be completed by 2022. Once finished, the project will help irrigate 37.08 lakh acres of land in 20 out of 31 districts of the state. Kaleshwaram is also a drinking water project designed to meet the needs of the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and also provide water for industrial use.
The project requires a total of 37,852 hectares of land that comprises 3,168.13 hectares of forest land, 34,684 hectares of private land with a total submergence area of 18,302 hectares. The project will also submerge 174.37 hectares of land in Maharashtra.
The project got environmental clearance from the Centre after public hearings were held at 15 districts in the state and one district in August 2017. The project was a poll promise of the Telangana Chief Minister during the agitation for a separate Telangana state.
Earlier this year, the Irrigation department had conducted test runs of motors at the Nandi Medaram pump house of the project in Peddapally.
Partial operations of the first phase began some time in August 2018 with the Irrigation department conducting test runs.
(With IANS inputs)