Hyderabad: A 23.5-km long irrigation canal under Palair balancing reservoir in Khammam district got a fresh lease of life almost nine decades after its formation. The canal, built by erstwhile Nizam Mir Osman Ali Khan, had been the sole source of irrigation support for over 23,000 acres of land in Nelakondapalli and Kusumanchi mandals.
The canal designed by Nawab Ali Jung Bahadur, chief engineer in Nizam’s government, was considered an engineering marvel because of its unique distributary system that ensured equal distribution of water even to the tail- end lands.
It was such a dependable source for decades that the farmers under the canal were growing sugarcane and other irrigation intensive crops. Subjected to long neglect, the canal became too vulnerable to breaches and leakages and for the past two decades it was literally not of much use for the ayacutdars who failed to derive the desired benefit from the irrigation source.
The carrying capacity of the canal came down from 320 cusecs to 220 cusecs leaving the ayactdars high and dry. Almost all the under tunnels and distributaries were in total disrepair adding to the despair of the peasant community. Thanks to the initiative of the Irrigation Minister T Harish rao and the Minister for Roads and Building Tummala Nageswara Rao, the government sanctioned Rs 68 crore and the work was grounded on February 16 last.
The implementation was put on fast tract and in six months time, it was given altogether a different shape with the construction of nine under tunnels, two aqueducts and 32 distributary outlets. The bedlining and concretization of the entire 35.5 km stretch was completed in a record three months time.
Trial run of the canal organised on Saturday took water to the tail-end lands bringing cheer to farmers in the area. Marking the occasion, the department erected 23.5 feet high pylon. The State government completed the Bhakta Ramdas project in 11-month time lifting water from the same Palair reservoir to extend irrigation to some 60,000 acres of land in the drought prone Tirumalayapalem mandal in the district. With the rehabilitation of the 90 year old canal of Palair benefiting another 23000 acres, peasant community in the Palair assembly segment erupted in celebrations .