The massive Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) in Telangana, considered crucial for the prospects of ruling Telangana Rashtra Samiti in the 2019 Lok Sabha and assembly elections, is expected to become partly operational from August this year, an official statement said.
The ambitious project will provide irrigation facilities to farmers of 20 out of 31 districts of the state besides drinking water to the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad and water for industrial use in many cities.
The Rs 80,000-crore project on the Godavari river comprises three barrages, a series of pumphouses and storage tanks.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao had recently met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and sought Rs 20,000 crore for the project.
A press statement cited Telangana Irrigation Minister T Harish Rao as saying that KLIP will become partly operational from August 2018.
"After completion, this project will give a new direction to irrigation in the country and will also begin a new era for the farming community," he said.
Rao said the project was conceived in 2007-08 but actual work started after the Telangana Rashtra Samiti government assumed office.
"During our movement for the separate state, we had focussed on three main issues - water, funds and employment. These were the main concerns before the people. We decided to take up the irrigation issue on priority. After completion of the project in 2022, we will be able to irrigate 37.08 lakh acres of land of 20 out of the 31 districts of Telengana. With completion of its first phase it will be able to irrigate 18.82 lakh acres of land," Rao said.
Noting that Telangana had recorded the highest numbers of farmer suicides after Vidarbha region of Maharashtra, he said the project will provide manifold benefits to people.
He said the Chief Minister was monitoring progress on the project on a day-to-day basis.
Initially, the project is expected to benefit farmers of around 10 districts including Karimnagar, Warangal, Nizamabad and Kamareddy.