Engineers in 2015 report deemed Medigadda Barrage on Godavari uneconomical

According to the report, these projects are not receiving adequate flows as planned and the situation is likely to deteriorate further

By Sri Lakshmi Muttevi  Published on  17 Feb 2024 12:34 PM GMT
Engineers in 2015 report deemed Medigadda Barrage on Godavari uneconomical

Hyderabad: The proposal for the construction of a barrage on the Godavari River near Medigadda and sending 160 TMC of water to Mid Manair Reservoir is not desirable due to its prohibitive cost and time consumption, said the Engineers Committee Report 2015 on the barrages on Godavari and Pranahita rivers.

The Godavari River is the biggest interstate river in Peninsular India, traversing Maharashtra, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The Godavari basin lies in Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattishgarh, Orissa, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, divided into 12 sub-basins.

What are the existing projects in Telangana?

G4, G5 and G6 are the three important existing projects in this sub-basin. According to the report, these projects are not receiving adequate flows as planned and the situation is likely to deteriorate further.

Due to the construction of the Babli Project and other projects in Maharashtra, yield at 75 per cent dependability in G5 sub-basin will worsen further affecting SRSP & Yellampally Projects.

“It is evident that Telangana projects lying in G4, G5, G6, basin are not receiving their planned inflow and there is a lot of deficiency in all major projects like Nizamsagar, SRSP, Sriapada Sagar FFC of SRSP etc. which require importation of water to improve their efficiency,” read the report.

Projects on Pranahita River

In the G9 sub-basin, the Pranahita River is the largest tributary of Godavari which constitutes more than 33 per cent of the dependable yield of the entire Godavari River. Diverting water from the available water resources to projects suffering from inadequate yield is justifiable and should be a priority for the government.

Senior engineers of Telangana and national council members of the Institution of Engineers (India) have taken the responsibility to formulate a scheme named Pranahita-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme to utilise 160 TMC from Pranahita sub-basin to augment the shortages and to address the problems of the projects in Telangana.

The Institution of Engineers (India). after formulation of the scheme, presented to the leaders of all political parties of Telangana on February 25, 2005, and explained in length about the scheme. The parties, including TRS (now BRS) appreciated the proposals and endorsed the scheme unequivocally.

A proposal was then submitted to the Government of Andhra Pradesh and through extensive meetings, the chief minister and the Cabinet of ministers concerned were convinced of the necessity of taking up the scheme which would cater to the irrigation needs of seven Telangana districts.

Based on WAPCO’s report, the government accorded administrative approval to the scheme for Rs 18,500 crores initially and also sanctioned a revised estimate for Rs 38,500 crores.

Projects on Godavari River

The Institution of Engineers (India) with senior Telangana engineers have also formulated another scheme called the Kanthanapally Lift Irrigation Scheme on the Godavari River. This scheme is also administratively approved by the Government of (AP) to utilise 50 TMC in Phase-I and ultimately to utilise 100 TMC of water for an amount of Rs 10,400 crores.

Generally, stage lifting is limited to 100 M Irrigation from each lift is proposed to the extent commandable area available and further lifts with less water and reduced power requirement will be adopted.

Accordingly, the entire scheme was divided into seven links, consisting of 28 packages. Under link-I of Pranahita, it was divided into 1 to S packages and under link-II from Yellampally to Mid Manair reservoir there are three packages viz. packages 6 to 8. All the 28 packages were tendered and let out to the agencies. Except for the barrage work, all other package works were grounded.

The Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra governments agreed in 2012 to constitute an inter-state board, a standing committee and a coordination committee.

A study on Medigadda

According to the report, the chief minister desired to study an alternative location on the main Godavari River near Medigadda (V) Mahadevpoor (M) Karimnagar District up to Mid Manair. Accordingly, a detailed study of the existing and alternate proposals was made.

The report said that two rivers, Wardha and Wainganga, will join near Tummedihatti Village and from there the combined river will be called Pranahita River. The river flows about 100 km from the confluence point and joins the Godavari River near Kaleshwaram Village in Karimnagar District.

The Barrage Pranahita-Chevella scheme site was across the Pranahita River at about 4 km downstream above the two rivers’ confluence point which is a wildlife sanctuary reserved forest.

The members of the retired engineers' forum conducted an aerial survey on March 24, 2015, to examine the feasibility of the proposed site and the possibility of alternative sites on the Pranahita River.

The then chief minister ordered the Irrigation Department to explore the possibilities of constructing a barrage on the Godavari River near Medigadda Village to store about 5 TMC water in the river margins and to examine whether 160 TMC water can be directly lifted and taken to Mid Manair Reservoir.

Report on Polavaram

The State Government of the then united Andhra Pradesh constituted a committee consisting of advisors of three regions and B-in-C admin, chief engineer (CD0) and chief engineer (Polavaram).

The issue discussed was about the possibility of a flood on the Godavari River, similar to what happened in the Krishna River in 2009 September and October, which can put the Polavaram dam in danger and adversely affect all the towns and villages downstream of Polavaram.

The committee submitted its report stating that the dam break analysis was done to withstand floods for 1,000 years. It said that there would not be any possibility of Polavaram breaking and affecting downstream villages and towns.

However, there is imminent danger of a flood in Bhadrachalam Temple Town and Manugur heavy water plant and other habitats as a similar situation happened in Krishna River due to floods in Mantralayam and Kurnool towns situated upstream of Srisailam project.

To take care of the similar damages in the Godavari River due to the construction of the Polavaram project, the committee suggested constructing barrages at suitable locations to withhold about 100 TMC of water above Polavaram which will act as a flood cushion.

Report conclusions

In their recommendations, the committee said that the government should accept the concept of the existing Pranahita-Chevella scheme near Tummedihatti Village in Adilabad and explore ways and means to make it feasible. The proposal of construction of a barrage on the main Godavari near Medigadda village and lifting 160 TMC of water to Mid Manair Reservoir is not desirable due to its prohibitive costs and time consumption.

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