When completed,it will be Indias largest lift-irrigation project,boasting of the longest gravity canals,aqua-ducts and tunnel systems,spanning some 1,055 km. More than that,the Rs 40,000 crore Pranahita-Chevella project is being touted as the solution to all the problems of perennially parched Telangana: It is expected to irrigate nearly 17 lakh acres of cultivable land,which is currently at the mercy of monsoon,and provide drinking water to over a dozen towns and cities,including Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
The project,which has seen little construction so far,is likely to pick up pace now that Maharashtra has agreed to build it jointly with Andhra Pradesh. They signed an MoU on Saturday to build the most critical part of the project,the barrage on Pranahita river,and on Monday,engineers surveyed the site. Maharashtra had been stonewalling the project because the barrage would submerge nearly 5,000 hectares of its land,but has given in after being promised 41 thousand million cubic feet of water from the project. Half of the barrage will be built in Kautala Mandal in Adilabad in Telangana and the other half in Maharashtra.
The project,scheduled to be completed in 2018,will be be one of the costliest,not least because it will require about Rs 1,000 crore worth of power a year 3,466 MW to pump water. Lifting nearly 160 thousand million cubic feet of water from Pranahita reservoir to channel it to Sripada Yellampalli reservoir in Karimnagar and then from there to link reservoirs and canals some 74 km downstream will require 16 massive water-lifts.
Once water is lifted into seven main canals,gravity will channel it into 28 networks of smaller canals and tunnels slithering into the seven districts of Telangana.
The agreement,meanwhile,is seen by some as an attempt to contain the Telangana statehood movement. The TRS,which is leading the movement,welcomed it cautiously. We welcome the development. However,we feel this project is not the answer to all Telangana problems. A separate state is still the only option, said TRS MLA K T Rama Rao.