The Union Ministry of Environment and Forest on Friday gave the final forest clearance permission for Palamuru Ranga Reddy irrigation project, one of the major projects in Telangana.
Thanking Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao said this would pave way for a further step in the progress of the project being built across Krishna river.
According to a statement from the Chief Minister's Office, the project will irrigate 12.3 lakh acres in erstwhile Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy, Nalgonda districts. Nearly 1,000 villages will also get drinking water.
The state government had requested the Centre to accord permission for allocating 205 hectares forest land to the irrigation department. The project was designed and permissions were issued in the erstwhile Andhra Pradesh and intended to draw water from Jurala Project and lift and store the water in three reservoirs.
The project was aimed and designed to supply irrigated water to 10 lakh acres. However, Telangana Government redesigned the project to increase the irrigation potential and also to drastically reduce the submergence.
On June 11, 2015, the Chief Minister laid foundation stone for the project to be built at a cost of Rs 35,200 crore. Later the project works were divided into 18 packages and tenders were called.
In 2017, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) appointed an independent commission to look into alleged irregularities and illegalities in the project's construction work. The NGT was hearing a petition by one Harshvardhan Reddy, who claimed that the state had not followed the rules while going ahead with first phase of the project, which passes through Amrabad-Srisailam-Nagarjunasagar Tiger reserve areas
The petitioner reportedly alleged at the time that the PRLIS was an irrigation project, being labelled as a drinking water project, and added that the state government cut down roughly 279 hectares of forest, without permission.
The statement from the CMO also claimed that some opposition leaders in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh government were working hard to block the work. Telangana government, however, removed all the hurdles. It is confident that the long pending dream of the people will become a reality with the completion of the project in three years.