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- Context (TH): Telangana Chief Minister called for an inquiry into irregularities in the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP).
- Issues of submerging piers at the Medigadda barrage and the seepage in the Annaram barrage have brought the project into the limelight.
- KLIP is a multi-purpose lift irrigation project in Telangana redesigned from the Pranahita-Chevella project of erstwhile Andhra Pradesh.
- It is constructed on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhupalpally, Telangana, India.
- As of now, it is the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project.
- It is unique in terms of its reverse pumping mechanism.
Components of KLIP
- It is divided into 7 links and 28 packages through 13 districts along with a canal network.
- It targets sourcing a total of 240 TMC (195 from Medigadda Barrage, 20 from the Sripada Yellampalli project, and 25 from groundwater).
- A barrage is constructed at Medigadda, and the water is reverse-pumped into the main Godavari river and diverted through lifts and pumps into a huge and complex system of reservoirs, water tunnels, pipelines, and canals.
- It envisages four major pumping facilities to manage the project’s outflow. The largest is at Ramadugu and Medaram, Annaram, and Sundilla being the others.
Interlinking of Rivers (ILRs)
Advantages of Kaleshwaram Lift Project
- Water availability: It will provide water for irrigation, Hyderabad municipal water supply, industrial uses, and drinking water supply to nearby villages.
- Groundwater level restoration: It will replace the use of groundwater in irrigation with canal water.
- Water Recharge Projects: Mission Kakatiya and Mission Bhagirath for water conservation will also be augmented by water supplied through the KLIP.
- Interstate Water Dispute Resolution: A newly signed agreement between Telangana and Maharastra will address the long-standing interstate river water sharing dispute.
- Improvement in Socio-economic Conditions: Farmers and cultivators around the area are expected to benefit from better irrigation, commercial crop cultivation, and a reduction in the cost of agriculture.
Issues in Kaleshwaram Lift Project
- Impact on Agriculture: Submergence of agricultural areas (especially Chilli cultivation areas) and the consequent impact on the state’s economy remains a significant issue.
- Reservoir-induced Seismicity: It can create reservoir-induced seismicity similar to the Koyna reservoir in the Satara district, thereby increasing the possibility of a massive earthquake.
- Environmental Issues: Unusual dam orientation parallel to the stream in Mallannasagar may lead to waterlogging and artesian conditions due to a high hydraulic gradient.
- Displacement Issues: It will submerge 19 villages, resulting in huge socio-economic costs.
- Credibility of Estimates: Many experts are challenging the estimated figures of benefits and associated costs of projects.
- Construction Irregularities: Recently surfaced construction and repair issues raise a question about the project’s long-term vision.
- National Dam Safety Authority emphasized complete rehabilitation to avoid any compromises in the Medigadda barrage.
- Rehabilitation and relief package needs to be revisited to resolve the ‘developmental displacement’ issue.
- The project should undertake corrections as being studied by the Anil Jain (Center Water Commission member) committee — appointed by the Ministry of Jal Shakti to study the recent issues in the KLIP- Medigadda barrage.