Amid opposition from the people of displaced villages, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy has performed `bhoomi pooja' for the right canal of Polavaram project on the river Godavari, on Monday.
This is a major project the Andhra Pradesh government has embarked upon linking two perennial rivers - Godavari and Krishna. A long-drawn project, first mooted six decades ago, is now set to become a reality, enabling lakhs of farmers to get their land irrigated.
The project, when it was conceived in 1946-47, was estimated to cost Rs 129 crore. However, it was later expanded including power generation of 960 MW and to divert about 80 TMC of water to upstream of Prakasam barrage in Vijayawada. The present cost of the project is estimated at Rs 8,261 crore. The project also envisages providing drinking and industrial water to Visakhapatnam and about 540 villages.
The administrative sanction was accorded for construction of right and left canals at a cost of Rs 1,320 crore and Rs 1,353 crore respectively. Speaking to media at Rajamundry before performing bhoomi puja, Dr Reddy assured the farmers under Godavari Ayakut that they would be given water even in the rabi from Seeleru reservoir.
The proposed project comprising right and left canals would facilitate a live capacity of 75.20 TMC of water thus enabling irrigation of an additional 23.20 lakh acres in Krishna, West and East Godavari, Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram and Srikakulam districts.
The project constitutes a earth-cum-rock fill dam of length 2,310 meters, spillway of length 907 meters with 44 nos. of vents to discharge 36 lakh cusecs of water, power block on left side to install 12 nos. of turbines each of 80 MW capacity. The right canal length is 173 KMs to discharge 17,500 cusecs and left canal of length 182 KMs to discharge 17,500 cusecs of water.