Hyderabad: The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project will spur the economy of Telangana by simultaneously addressing the water needs of the agrarian population and also triggering a new wave of industrialisation, according to Somesh Kumar, Special Chief Secretary, Irrigation and Command Area Development.
“Everyone is wonderstruck by the size of the project and the impact it can make. Water scarcity has been a bane for TS despite two rivers – Krishna and Godavari- flowing it. Water from Godavari is being lifted through an elaborate lift irrigation scheme. It might look expensive now. But our belief has been that water is most precious thing needed, more so in a dry land agriculture. With water from this project, the farmers in the State can hope to water their crops for two seasons,” he said at an Asian Development Bank event.
“It is strange and ironical that 1000s of tmcs of water from Godavari goes into the sea because we are not able to exploit the water rightfully. The Kaleshwaram scheme makes us all feel proud. While irrigation projects take many years to complete, this is completed in just three years. Pumps have started working and water is being pumped,” the official said adding that irrigation apart it will also provide drinking water through the Mission Bhagiratha to all households. It will also provide drinking water to one crore people in Hyderabad. The project will also provide about 60 TMC water to industries.
“The challenge now is using water efficiently. We need to give more value addition to the agriculture produce through food processing. For this, crop colonies are being designed. It implies a particular area will grow a particular crop that is suitable for it. The objective is to create jobs through indsturialisation, augment urban and rural infrastructure and minimise effect of climate change,” Kumar said.
The State is now providing a near 24-hour quality power supply to farm as well as industries. “TS, as per the latest economic survey, has grown at 14.9 per cent, the highest in the country. In the GST collections, we last year grew more than 19 per cent and this year at more than 15 per cent despite having an election year and also downward rationalization of rates,” the official said.
TS launched innovative agriculture programmes. Like Rhytu Bandhu (Farmers’ Investment Support Scheme) to support farmer’s investment for two crops a year. A similar scheme is now being implemented in eight States. Government of India too started a similar scheme but with a lower magnitude of funding. The State also launched Rythu Bhima scheme, which provides Rs 5 lakh life cover.
It has also launched a massive programme to revive the tanks in the State, he said.