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How Telangana CM took the formidable task of supplying potable water to the electorate

Almost all habitations in the fledgling state are to get piped water supply by Republic Day.

 |  Sunny Side Down  |  3-minute read |   13-12-2017
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For any politician in office there is perhaps no satisfying challenge greater than providing potable water to the entire electorate. Inching to that seemingly elusive goal, in a formidable manner, is Telangana chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.

Almost all habitations in the fledgling state are to get piped water supply by Republic Day. Reaching it to individual homes in all habitations will take at least another year.

On December 9, after a two-day stock-taking tour of upcoming irrigation and drinking water projects in the state, KCR declared that 98 per cent of the habitations in the state will get drinking water in another 45 days under the state’s Mission Bhagiratha. This is a daring announcement he made after reviewing minutely all issues related to the prestigious Kaleshwaram project including the construction of barrages, canals, tunnels, pump houses, power sub-stations and land acquisition. The chief minister had laid the foundation stone for the project on May 2, 2016, at Medigadda, after offering prayers at the Kaleshwaram shrine.

kcr_121317010025.jpgKCR has conducted a two-day tour to take stock of water supply in the state. [Photo: Mail Today]

Pointing out that the Godavari water is available all 365 days in a year, at Medigadda, he told officials to draw water without waiting for the project to be completed and directed power transmission and utilities officials to supply electricity to operate the gates at key barrages — Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla — as well as the pump houses at Kannepalli, Siripuram and Golivada besides keeping generators on standby to meet emergencies in the event of any power outages be it tripping or line failure. The three barrages can together store over 28 TMC of water, utilise about 180 TMC of water to provide irrigation sources to 18.25 lakh acres covering 13 districts and also stabilise another 11.8 lakh acres of the Sreeram Sagar Project ayacut. In all, it will require 4,500 mw of electricity to lift water from various pump houses.

Complimenting his irrigation minister, T Harish Rao, for his initiatives in sourcing and sharing the water with contiguous states, KCR suggested Rao go on field visits to Kaleshwaram every 10 days while he would follow up once a month. He has set a 200-day deadline for the project engineers to step up the pace of work.

The chief minister has called for all these measures, even during the construction phase of Kaleshwaram, to keep his prepoll promise of 2014 to provide potable water to all homes, at least partially, by reaching it to all habitations. Almost all clearances, except environment related ones, have already been obtained for the Kaleshwaram project. The inter-state agreements with Maharashtra as well as the Central Water Commission and Forests clearances are already in place.

A major hurdle in keeping to the tight schedule, prescribed by KCR, is in land acquisition. To clear it swiftly, the chief minister has asked officials to acquire it by invoking the 2017 legislation made by the state as it was more beneficial to those displaced than the earlier 2013 law.

And to ensure early completion of Kaleshwaram, the chief minister has announced his intent about dedicating it to the people on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of the state’s formation on June 2.

Funds, as of now, are not wanting. The state has provided Rs 25,000 crore in the budget and is mobilising another Rs 20,000 crore through banks and other financial institutions to bring Mission Bhagiratha to fruition. 

(Courtesy of Mail Today)

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Writer

Amarnath K Menon Amarnath K Menon @amarnathkmenon

The writer is Senior Deputy Editor, India Today and is based in Hyderabad.

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