The Polavaram Irrigation Project is a Multipurpose one conferring Irrigation benefits in the upland areas of Visakhapatnam, East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna Districts. It also envisages drinking water supply to Visakhapatnam Township and other towns and villages enroute and Industrial water supply to the Visakhapatnam coast based Steel Plant and other industries in the vicinity, generation of Hydel Power, affording Navigation facilities, development of pisciculture and providing recreation and other benefits, besides urbanisation.
52 pillars on the spillway of Polavaram project is completed
The construction of 52 pillars of 52-metre-high on the spillway of Polavaram irrigation project is almost completed by Megha Engineering and Infrastructures Limited. The company, which has taken up the execution of Polavaram project, said that they had completed the construction of 52 pillars at a height of 52 meters each on the spillway by Thursday and claimed that their works were hindered in the last year due to heavy rains and floods and outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic.
MEIL had started spillway concrete works on November 21, 2019, with a total slab length at 1,128 metres. Out of this, the company said work on 1,095-metre slab length was over. Out of 192 total girders that are required to be set up on the spillway, the company has erected 188 girders so far and four more are yet to be installed.For the spillway bridge, the company had completed laying of 45 slabs while the work on laying three more slabs are nearing completion. Out of 48 gates required to be constructed on the spillway bridge, the company said 28 were erected so far and a platform will be built to set up cylinders and power packs to the gates.
Need of The Polavaram Irrigation Project
National River-Linking Project, which works under the aegis of the Indian Ministry of Water Resources, was designed to overcome the deficit in water in the country. As a part of this plan, surplus water from the Himalayan rivers is to be transferred to the peninsular rivers of India. This exercise, with a combined network of 30 river-links and a total length of 14,900 kilometres (9,300 mi) at an estimated cost of US$120 billion (in 1999), would be the largest ever infrastructure project in the world. In this project’s case, the Godavari river basin is considered as a surplus one, while the Krishna River basin is considered to be a deficit one. As of 2008, 644 Tmcft of underutilised water from Godavari River flowed into the Bay of Bengal. But as of 2017 over 3000 Tmcft are drained unutilised into Bay of Bengal. Based on the estimated water requirements in 2025, the Study recommended that sizable surplus water was to be transferred from the Godavari River basin to the Krishna River basin. The project when completed will serve many purposes, few of which are explained below.
- Andhra Pradesh is predominantly an agricultural State with over 51.58 percent of income being generated through Agriculture. Out of 11.49 million hectares (28 Million acres) of net area, only 3.34 million hectares (8 Million acres) is the irrigated area under canals, tanks, wells and other sources, the area under canals being 1.59 million hectares (4 million acres). Thus, it may be seen that only about 14% of the net area sown is under Irrigation as compared to All-India figure 22.2%, 24% in Uttar Pradesh and 35% in Punjab.
- The area under the assured sources of Irrigation in Krishna and Godavari Deltas is about 0.9 million hectares (2.20 million acres). The Nagarjuna Sagar Project on the Krishna River is expected to serve about 0.8 million hectares (2.0 Million acres) of land in Nalgonda, Guntur and Prakasam Districts. The Sriramsagar (Pochampad) Project on the River Godavari after completion of Stage-II will serve an area of 0.7 million hectares (1.7 Million acres) of land in the Districts of Nizamabad Adilabad, Karimnagar, Khammam and Warangal.
- Andhra Pradesh is the fifth largest State in India and fourth in population. It has vast industrial potentialities by way of abundance of raw-materials and human resources, apart from its central situation and accessibility to important industrial areas, to important ports and to big cities. The estimated hydro power potential of the State is about 3,000 Mega watts and the utilisation is hardly 1,652.9 Mega Watts. There are reasonably good inland water-ways, very good railway and road communication systems. Visakhapatnam is having a first class harbour. In Spite of having all the infrastructure for large industrialisation, the State continues to be backward Industrially. One of the main reasons is the lack of cheap and abundant electric power. The per capita consumption of electricity is only about 145 Units, in Andhra Pradesh against the all India figure of over 159 units.
- Even in the matter of rural electrification, the State lags behind its neighbouring States. 24,782 Villages out of a total of 27,379 have electric supply. By Polavaram Irrigation Project, 960 Mega watts of seasonal power during monsoon, and 80 Mega watÂ»s of Firm Power can be generated.
- The Port city of Visakhapatnam and its Industrial complex, the Steel Plant and other auxiliary industries existing and proposed to be set up nearby, the existing outer Harbour, Naval Complex, shipyard, Refinery etc., requires abundant and uninterrupted supply of water. The people in the upland areas of Vizag, East Godavari, West Godavari and Krishna suffer for want of drinking water during the summer months.
- The floods in Godavari are causing damages to standing crops and loss of property and cattle-worth several crores in the plains. The floods of 1953, 1959 and the recent Flood of 1986 had caused great havoc in the Godavari Districts. Till now, no permanent steps are taken to mitigate the flood hazards.
- By “Polavaram Irrigation Project”, the river can be tamed, flows regulated before the river enters the planes beyond Polavaram and the recurring flood havoc can be mitigated.
- At present, the forest produce, the various ores including coal available in the up-stream regions of the fore-shore, and the food grains are transported by railways or by road by circuitous route. The river navigation is not possible during lean months due to insufficient depths of flow.
- The Polavaram Project, in view of the formation of the fore-shore lake and the Left Canal designed for Navigation, facilitates cheap and quick transport of forest produce and food grains to the marketing centres and various ores and coal to the Industries
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is also closely monitoring the progress of execution of all components of the project in order to complete it expeditiously by end of 2021.