Polavaram on priority basis sought

R. Jagadeeswara Rao

Valuable time already lost, say four engineering specialists

VISAKHAPATNAM;  Four engineering specialists of Forum for Action Research and Policy Analysis viz. S.M.A.A.Jinnah, retired engineer-in-chief, S.Satyanarayana, retired chief engineer, B.Brahmanayya and U.Narayana Raju, both retired superintending engineers, all from irrigation department, and R.V.Rama Rao, Director, Institute of Development and Policy Studies want the Government to take up construction of Polavaram project on a priority basis and chalk out a time bound plan for its completion. These specialists who met here on Thursday, pointed out the Government had already lost valuable time, and public money to the tune of Rs.2000 crores because of a clause in EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) contract. The department should take up the design work immediately and complete the project in a fixed time frame, the Forum said.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr.Jinnah and Mr.Satyanarayana pointed to the sorry state of affairs of rabi crop in Godavari delta, where the water level is reduced to the lowest this season and water would be given to only 2.50 lakh acres of ayacut as against the total ayacut of 10.50 lakh acres. This could have been avoided, had the Polavaram project been completed in its three years of time allotted to it. Mr.R.V.Rama Rao pointed out that due to non-supply of water to the tail end ayacut of Godavari delta, there would be salt water intrusion into the tail end reaches, resulting in the ayacut area becoming unfit for cultivation.

Pointing out that implementation of Polavaram project had been lingering since 1942, the Forum pointed out that almost all major projects in the State except Polavarma had been completed. There are a number of reservoirs on rivers Krishna and Penna. But in the case of Godavari there is only one reservoir viz Pochampadu at the entry of Godavari with a capacity of 100 tmc, and down below there is no other reservoir till its tail end. The capacity of Polavaram at the tail end is only 75 tmc, so huge quantity of water has been going waste into the sea.

So expeditious completion of Polavaram project, which would irrigate 7.5 lakh acres in the districts of East Godavari, West Godavari, Krishna and Visakhapatnam, would create additional irrigation facility for 16 lakh acres by lifts from both left and right canals, divert 80 tmc of water to Krishna delta, supply 400 mgd of water to the fast developing Viskahpatnam city and generate 960 mw of power, is of utmost importance, the Forum specialist engineers said.

Main dam

The Forum members said that there was no progress of work of the main dam. Tenders under EPC had been called for the main dam work in 2006 with three years for completion. But no progress is made in all the three years and the EPC contract had been closed. But no action was initiated to call fresh tenders. Even the designs of main dam had not been finalized. There was inordinate delay, the Forum said and urged the Government to initiate steps for completion of works speedily so that benefits accrue to the intended sections without any further delay.


source: The Hindu 6 November 2009