The stage is set for the release of water from Palair canal project which has been modernised with an estimated investment of ₹64 crore in a record span of four months.
Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao, accompanied by his Cabinet colleague T. Nageswara Rao, will formally release water from the project on Monday. The foundation stone was laid on February 16 by the Irrigation Minister. The project was aimed at catering to irrigation needs of over 25,000 acres in the backward mandals of Khammam district.
Originally constructed during the Nizam’s period in 1920s, it was linked to the Nagarjunasagar Left Bank Canal and Palair Reservoir was converted into a balancing reservoir with gross storage capacity of 2.5 tmcft. Once commissioned, the project would provide irrigation facilities to 10 revenue villages in Nelakondapally and Kusumanchi mandals of Khammam district in addition to providing safe drinking water to several tribal habitations enroute.
Following an assurance given by Mr. Harish Rao in the Legislative Council, Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao sanctioned ₹64 crore required for the modernisation work. The main canal stretch of 23.5 km as also the branch canals spread over 55 km were desilted and this was followed by removal of several blockades including some old structures along the canal.
Nine old bridges were replaced and new gates were put up for 32 sluices in addition to replacement of seven dilapidated under tunnels with concrete structures. The work included setting up of two cross regulators and concrete lining spanning a distance of 3.9 km. Workers were engaged in three shifts to complete the project and the entire work was monitored on continuous basis by Mr. Harish Rao in consultation with Mr. Nageswara Rao. The department thanked the farmers who gave up cultivation during the previous season following an assurance from the Government that the work would be completed at the earliest. According to an official release, work that commenced in February was completed by July and the department conducted trial runs ever since.
Meanwhile, work on the medium irrigation project Palemvagu, with a capacity of 0.126 tmcft, too was completed for providing water to 10,136 acres in 32 villages of Venkatapuram mandal and seven villages of Wajedu mandal in the district. Following the initiative of the Irrigation Minister, the department secured necessary forest clearances for the project taken up with an estimated cost of ₹ 228 crore.
There were objections from the Forest Department for handing over of the forest land for the project, but the Minister and his team successfully convinced the department and ensured that land was surrendered.
The TRS Government took steps to ensure that 15 canals planned under the project including four major canals were completed within schedule. Though work was launched on the project during the previous Congress regime in the united AP, they were found to be substandard.
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