http://www.business-standard.com/ar...rst-river-linking-project-115091600729_1.html Andhra Pradesh accomplishes country's first river linking project An inter-state agreement allows the state to divert 80 tmc of water from Godavari to meet needs of Krishna delta B Dasarath Reddy | Hyderabad September 16, 2015 Last Updated at 16:38 IST 5187 N Chandrababu Naidu The country's first ever river-linking formally accomplished on Wednesday in the state of Andhra Pradesh and that too within a record short time of less than six months. Chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu declared that the first pump of a lift scheme, being built on river Godavari for diverting 80 tmc of surplus waters into Krishna river linking the two perennial sources of water covering a distance of around 160 km between the two, operates from tonight. An inter-state agreement signed among Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh allows AP to divert 80 tmc of water from Godavari to meet the needs of Krishna delta. The urgency of inter-linking of Godavari and Krishna felt by Naidu government was so evident that it was not only the first project conceived and being executed by his government after it came to power in June, 2014, but also from the fact that the project contractor was offered heavy incentive to finish the project in one year's time. According to some industry observers, it would take at least two years to complete the fabrication of motors and pumps of this size and number. Stabilisation of the existing ayacut of 12 lakh acres in Krishna and Guntur districts, which is facing a severe water shortage as inflows from upstream Krishna became increasingly uncertain, and meeting the drinking water needs of Vijayawada and the upcoming state capital Amaravati, were the immediate priority. On top of it, Chief minister Naidu promised to the people of drought-prone Rayalaseema region that the water so saved in Krishna river on account of this inter linking of rivers would be supplied to the parched lands of Rayalaseema from Srisailam reservoir. The lift scheme marks the initiation of a grand idea of inter-linking of rivers which remained a pipe dream at national level for the past several decades in the mornikng. "Going forward we will link all the rivers and rivulets in the state to make AP as the first drought-proof state in the country," Naidu said. Popularly known as Pattiseema project as is being constructed at a village of the same name in West Godavari district at a cost of Rs 1,300 crore, this lift scheme comprises of 24 pumps each with a 5,300 horse power(HP) capacity and a pumping capacity of 354 Cusecs of water. These pumps are supposed to transfer 80 tmc of water in three months-August, September and October- which normally witness floods in river Godavari. The water is being lifted by pumps, which together consume 113 mw of power, and carried in a pipe up to a little less than 2 km distance and then discharged into the right canal of Polavaram multi purpose irrigation Project. Through this canal the water will travel by gravitation till it flows into Krishna river near Ibrahimpatnam in Krishna district. Pumps operate automatically when Godavari water level reaches 14 ft height. In the morning Naidu attended the ceremonies at Ibrahimpatnam where Gadavari water enters Krishna before he went to switch on the pump later in the evening. Pattiseema is a sight of hectic activity with 4,000 people, including 2,700 laborers who were brought as far as from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal, working day and night as project contractor, Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited(MEIL), has a job whose merit is primarily determined by how quickly it will execute. The state government has offered a monetary incentive of 15 per cent on the project cost provided the company completes the project by March, 2016 while the actual work on the project began on March 29 this year. "As the time is very short we have not only deployed huge number of people which is quite unusual for a project of this size and also ordered for motors and pump sets from Brazil and China apart from getting fabricated some units from the BHEL," the company official told Business Standard. Seven pumps are expected to be installed by November while the remaining number by the end of this year, much ahead of the government dead-line, according to the company official. In the past one year the project has attracted as much bad publicity as it has generated a positive name for the government. The opposition parties termed the project as a wasteful expenditure. They also accused the government of inflating project cost and alleged that the government had taken up the project for the sake of kick-backs while neglecting the construction of Polavaram Project under which diversion of 80 tmc of water into Krishna was just a part. It may be recalled that the Centre had declared Polavaram as a national project in the AP Reorganisation Act-2014 and constituted a project authority to complete the project with its own resources. Last year Government of India had released Rs 250 crore for Polavaram. Originally conceived by British engineers in mid 19th century, the Polavaram project was revived by Rajasekhara Reddy government at an estimated cost of Rs 16,000 crore in 2004-2005. Kiran Kumar Reddy government awarded fresh work contracts worth Rs 4,500 crore before the state got divided. So far the right and left canals were dug while the construction of earth dam, spill way and other structures remain to be completed. This multi-purpose project was designed with a total storage capacity of 150 tmc of water and a power generation capacity of close to 1,000 mw. The lift scheme becomes redundant once this project gets completed. The other criticism about the lift scheme is that the project will remain mostly useless since Krishna and river Godavari experience floods more or less during the same period. In the recent past the governments started conceiving large lift irrigation schemes as water became a politically sensitive issue among the regions of the undivided Andhra Pradesh and Naidu laid the foundation stone for a huge Devadula project in Telangana during his second term chief minister when the demand for separate statehood revived after a long gap. However, a lift scheme linking the two rivers was never conceived before.