Hyderabad: The large swathes of farm lands of Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao are set to receive the Godavari waters through the Konda Pochamma Reservoir on June 2, marking the Formation Day of Telangana.
The personnel of the state’s irrigation department are working overtime to meet the deadline, it is said.
According to official sources, a summer storage tank and a reservoir connecting Konda Pochamma reservoir and the CM’s farmhouse have been completed in a record period. And, four submerged villages were relocated at the same place. Erection of pump sets at the Akkaram pump house and Markuk Pump house is in a full swing. The Mallanna Sagar surge pool has been redesigned enabling to take two thousand million cubic meters (TMC) of water into the Kondapochamma reservoir through Akkam and Markuk pump houses on a fast-track.
Konda Pochamma Sagar is at the fag-end of the line for the link-IV of the Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation Scheme. Thus, Konda Pochamma Reservoir becomes the grand finale of the KCR’s brainchild—the Kaleswaram project. The Kaleswaram project, which was commissioned on 21 June, 2019, is intended to draw the river waters from the Medigadda Barrage on the Godavari to Sripada Yallampalli Project; from Sripada Yallampalli project to Mid-Manair dam; from Mid-Manair dam to Upper-Manair dam and from Upper-Manair dam to finally Konda Pochamma Reservoir. The KCR’s farm house is located some 15km away from the Konda Pochamma Reservoir.
A boon for KCR’s farm house
If the Konda Pochamma Reservoir is filled with 2tmc of the Godavari waters, it is expected to irrigate 3 lakh acres, including the KCR’s 85 acres in the ayacut. Chandrasekhar Rao has got a special passion for agriculture with a touch of the latest agri-technologies and developed the lands with a posh farm house at Erraballi in Siddipet district before he became the Chief Minister of Telangana. Rao boasts of reaping Rs 10crore per hectare by cultivating demand-driven crops in his farm house. KCR organised a trip involving a contingent of media corps in 2013, letting them know of his farm practices. His passion for the farm house is such that he ran the administration from his farm house during his first stint with an utter disregard for criticism from the opposition parties.
The KCR’s farm house is said to be a testing ground for application of the latest technologies and modern farm practices. It experiments with farming in polyhouse or greenhouse, a structure made of translucent glass or polythene where the plants will grow and develop under controlled climatic conditions. Besides, huge ponds were dug to harness rain harvesting technologies. The farm house is endowed with exotic vegetations such as bell-peppers in greenhouses and high-value crops like colour capsicum which has high demand in the foreign market.
A hotbed of protests
Water will reach the Konda Pochamma Reservoir from the Mallanna Sagar project only after witnessing massive protests by the project victims. When over 20,000 acres of farm lands went under the Mallanna Sagar, the Konda Pochamma Reservoir has warranted acquisition of 4,500 acres from farmers by the government. Backed by the opposition parties, the oustees staged massive protests demanding fair compensation.
The Rs 85,000 crore Kaleswaram Lift Irrigation scheme breeds allegations of irregularities in the tendering process. The Telangana’s BJP state unit, led by its president and MP Bandi Sanjay, petitioned state Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Saturday, accusing the KCR government of committing financial frauds in executing tenders for two projects on March 30—the one for lifting of third tmc (apart from the existing 2tmc per day) in Kaleswaram project and the second one relating to Sitrama Lift Irrigation scheme, both involving a staggering Rs 24,000-odd crore.