Hyderabad: Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on Sunday directed Irrigation Department officials to prepare an action plan for optimum utilisation of river waters through major irrigation projects constructed by the State government. Plans should be chalked out to ensure that hitherto unirrigated areas in the State are brought under cultivation, and to divert river waters to agriculture fields through canals, he said.
Speaking at an extensive meeting on irrigation projects at Pragathi Bhavan here, the Chief Minister emphasised the need to identify areas which do not have assured irrigation water supply for agriculture. He directed the authorities concerned to prepare an action plan to make use of the irrigation projects and fill irrigation tanks first, followed by reservoirs before finally releasing the water to the ayacut areas.
“Creating irrigation facility to benefit maximum number of farmers in the State is the top most priority for this government. We will not hesitate on spending when it comes to supply of water to irrigate agricultural lands,” the Chief Minister asserted. He instructed the officials to create maximum number of Offtake Points (OTs) on the flood flow canal of Sri Ram Sagar Project (SRSP) on priority basis and use other irrigation schemes to supply water to irrigation tanks which were not covered earlier. He also asked them to bring all the sections in the Irrigation Department under one umbrella immediately.
Elaborating further, Rao said the State government had taken up construction of massive irrigation projects on Godavari and Krishna after overcoming several obstacles. Simultaneously, the government completed several pending projects and also rejuvenated and restored village tanks. “The State government has been giving the highest priority to irrigation sector and made adequate river water available with the completion of massive projects like Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. To ensure that our efforts do not go waste, we must ensure irrigation facility to maximum extent of agriculture lands including those in the tail-end areas of the ayacut and make optimum usage of river water,” he said.
The Chief Minister wanted the authorities to examine the capacity of the existing canals and increase them, if needed, to supply water to the tail-end areas. “Water should be released in a planned manner. Store maximum amount of river water during the rainy season to ensure that farmers have access to irrigation facility throughout the year. By ensuring that both tanks and checkdams are filled to their full capacity, groundwater levels will improve which in turn will enable farmers without irrigation connectivity to cultivate crops using borewells,” he said.
Rao directed the officials to ensure supply of river water through SRSP and ensure at least two crops per year in about 30 lakh acres under its ayacut. He pointed out that the SRSP was now able to draw 2 tmc from the Kaleshwaram project, keeping the Flood Canal, Kakatiya Canal, Upper Manair, Mid Manair and Lower Manair projects alive throughout the year. He asked them to draw Godavari water directly from either the SRSP or through the SRSP Rejuvenation Scheme.
The Chief Minister observed that a few of 139 tanks between SRSP Flood Canal and Kakatiya Canal had no irrigation water supply which should be resolved immediately. He directed the authorities to create maximum number of OTs on the Flood Canal over the next three to four months and also fill all the tanks in the ayacut of the Flood Canal and the Kakatiya Canal in next six months. He stated that irrigation water can be supplied to about 90,000 acres through Yellampalli project and alternate arrangements should be made to supply water from the SRSP to the rest of the area.
Further, the Chief Minister felt that there could be better water availability in Krishna river this year as water has been already released from the Narayanpur reservoir. He instructed the authorities to divert the water received from the upstream using Jurala and Bhima projects to fill irrigation tanks, apart from Ramanpad reservoir. They were directed to complete the works pertaining to D-82 distributory canal of Kalwakurthy Lift Irrigation Scheme and irrigate about 30,000 acres in the ayacut. He suggested construction of a major reservoir or increase the capacity of tanks under the scheme’s ayacut for optimum use of river water.
“After the State formation, we have improved our irrigation resources. However, we should now focus on effective maintenance and management of these resources. A water management plan along with operational rules should be prepared for each project. Repair and maintenance works should be completed every summer to keep all projects ready before the monsoon commences in June,” he suggested.
Considering the increased workload, the Chief Minister wanted the officials to reorganise the Irrigation Department by bringing all divisions like major, medium, minor and IDC under one umbrella. However, he wanted them to create more zones and appoint one chief engineer for each zone with fixed responsibilities. “Projects, canals, reservoirs and tanks under each zone should be under the chief engineer’s control. All the officials should be empowered adequately to execute urgent works and spend necessary funds at their level,” he added.
Ministers KT Rama Rao, Koppula Eshwar, S Niranjan Reddy, Vemula Prashanth Reddy and Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Nagar Kurnool MP P Ramulu, Government Whip Balka Suman, MLAs Marri Janardhan Reddy, Ala Venkateswarlu, Jaipal Yadav, Ravishankar, Sanjay, K Vidyasagar Rao, Kandala Upender Reddy, Principal Secretary for Irrigation Rajat Kumar, CMO Secretary Smita Sabharwal, Engineers-in-Chief Muralidhar and Anil, along with other officials participated in the meeting. Kathalapur ZPTC member Bhoomaiah and farmer Sripal, who had a telephonic discussion with the Chief Minister earlier, also attended the meeting as special invitees.
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