The Andhra government claims that this project will 'drought-proof' the state

Naidu is embarking on a massive project to save Andhra farmers here is what its all aboutFile photo: Facebook/Andhra Pradesh CM
news Saturday, September 12, 2015 - 19:15

Farmers in Andhra Pradesh may have something to look forward to, as the state administration has initiated its first steps in 'drought-proofing' the state, as part of its Polavaram project.

Since September 1, the Chandrababu Naidu led government, has been redirecting 450 to 500 cusecs of water in phases from the Godavari river and on September 9, the water reached the Krishna delta region where thousands of farmers welcomed it.

“It is a historic moment. Godavari and Krishna rivers are interlinked now,’’ AP Irrigation Minister Devineni Umamaheshwara Rao told The New Indian Express.

The Godavari water was released from the Tatipudi Lift Irrigation Project in West Godavari district and into the Polavaram Project’s Right Main Canal which connects to the Prakasam Barrage, the dam that links the Krishna and Guntur districts.

Plan

"The inter-linking of rivers has been on the cards and on the drawing board for a long time, from the days when K L Rao was Irrigation minister in the Union Cabinet (in the 1950s). The plan was revived during Atal Bihari Vajpayee's NDA government. But, this is the first-ever time it has been implemented," Parakala Prabhakar, Advisor to the state government, told PTI.

Every year about 3000 TMC of Godavari water flows away into the Bay of Bengal while there is hardly enough water in the Krishna. The state's idea is to divert the surplus Godavari water into the Krishna basin and eventually Rayalseema, which is a comparatively dry district
 
The government does this transfer or 'lift' of water with the help of the 'Pattiseema' lift irrigation scheme on the Godavari River.
 
The 'Pattiseema' Lift Scheme, proposes to lift water from Godavari's Right Bank, near the Pattisam village and to drop it into the Polavaram project's Right canal, state Water Resources Minister D Umamaheswara Rao said in a statement during the monsoon session of Legislative Assembly.
 
The lifts being erected for the 'Pattiseema' scheme, can also be transferred elsewhere in the state upon completion of the Polavaram project.
 
Controversy
 
The project has not been without its fair share of controversies.
 
Many human rights forums and activists have claimed that the project will spell doom, as 276 villages in East Godavari, West Godavari and Khammam districts will be submerged, and nearly 50 per cent of the population in these villages consists of Girijans, a forest dwelling community.
 
It was also estimated that 27,798 families (1.17 lakh people) will be displaced and uprooted from the villages.
 
In 2006, the Odisha government led by Naveen Patnaik had also opposed the project, claiming it would affect its areas and displace some tribes in its border.
 
"Public hearing must take place properly and the concerns of the local people, who are mainly tribal people - the compensation for them, their rehabilitation should be looked after," Naveen Patnaik had said.
 
The YSR Congress. the TRS and all left parties including the CPI(M) have also been protesting against the project.
 
Even Lok Satta Party president Jayaprakash Narayanhad came down heavily on the Pattiseema lift scheme, saying it was of 'no use.'
 
For now, the government adds that the bigger event as such is on September 15, when the Godavari water will reach the Prakasam Barrage at Vijayawada after travelling for 174 kms.
 
While the Polavaram project is scheduled to be completed by 2018, some reports also suggest that the ground reality is different from the various claims made by the government.
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