The area of the proposed Varikapudisela Lift Irrigation Scheme project, located on Varikapudivagu in Palnadu district. | Photo Credit: T. VIJAYA KUMAR
The Telangana government has requested the Krishna River Management Board (KRMB) to direct the Andhra Pradesh government not to proceed with the works of Varikapudisela lift irrigation scheme at Macherla in Palnadu district in two phases, with an estimated cost of ₹4,129.26 crore to draw 1.57 tmcft water from the foreshores of Nagarjunasagar project.
The new lift irrigation scheme would negatively impact the availability of water to the projects/irrigation systems based on Nagarjunasagar in Telangana, Engineer-in-Chief (Irrigation-General) of Telangana said in a letter addressed to the Chairman of KRMB. The ENC stated that the new project was neither appraised by the river board nor approved by the Apex Council, as required. It was brought to the notice of the river board that the Chief Minister of AP had laid the foundation stone for the Varikapudisela LIS on November 11 to draw 281 cusecs of water from Nagarjunasagar every day for irrigation and drinking needs. The AP government had also issued orders giving administrative sanction to the project in February 2019 with an estimated cost of ₹340.26 crore.
The plan was to construct the headworks of the new LIS at the confluence point of Varikapudisela Vagu with Nagarjunasagar, a joint storage facility for Telangana and AP near Gangulakunta village of Veldurthi mandal to draw 223 cusecs of water to irrigate 24,900 acres. Later, it was enhanced to draw 281 cusecs with an additional ₹3,809 crore.
The ENC mentioned that Telangana had requested the river board in the past to direct AP not to allow it to proceed with the new projects as well as ones enhancing the scope of the Srisailam Right Bank Canal (SRBC), Telugu Ganga Project (TGP) and Galeru-Nagari Sujala Sravanthi until they were appraised by the river board and approved by the Apex Council.
He drew the attention of the river board chairman that, as per Section 84(3)(ii), 85(8)(d) and para 7 of the Eleventh Schedule of the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, no new project could be taken up without any appraisal by the Central Water Commission/KRMB and approval of the Apex Council. Further, he requested the river board to take all such violations by AP to the notice of the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) for necessary action.