The world’s largest multi-stage, multi-purpose lift irrigation project Kaleshwaram was dedicated to the nation by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday.
The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP), which promises to change the face of India’s youngest state, was inaugurated in the presence of Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.
The inaugural ceremony was held at Medigadda barrage in Jayashankar Bhupalapally district near the borders with Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.
Built across the Godavari river, the KLIP will lift the water to a height of half a kilometre. It is designed to irrigate 45 lakh acres for two crops in a year, meet the drinking water requirements of 70 per cent of the state and also cater to the needs of industry.
The inauguration of this project is seen as a major step by India’s youngest state towards achieving the goal of Bangaru Telangana or golden Telangana by irrigating one crore acres of land.
The inaugural ceremony was preceded by ‘Japa Sankalpa yagnam’ at Medigadda barrage in which Chandrashekhar Rao participated along with his wife Shobha Rao. The couple performed various rituals under the guidance of Sringeri Peetham seers.
Later, the Vedic pandits blessed the governor and the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. They participated in the rituals on the banks of the Godavari river.
KCR, as Chandrashekhar Rao is popularly known, took the guests around a photo exhibition and explained to them the key features of the project. A documentary was also screened on the occasion, highlighting the significance of the mega project.
The chief minister later drove to Kannepalli along with the governor and Jagan Reddy to inaugurate the pump house. He switched on six of the 11 huge motors installed at the pump house to lift the water.
Simultaneously, KCR’s cabinet colleagues inaugurated other barrages and pump houses at different places.
The foundation stone for the Rs 80,500 crore project was laid in 2016 and it is claimed to be the world’s biggest project of its kind completed in the shortest time.
KCR had visited Mumbai and Vijayawada last week to personally invite the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Chief Ministers. The Maharashtra Chief Minister was invited as an agreement signed by the two states in 2016 had paved way for the construction of Kaleshwaram, which was earlier called the Pranahita-Chevella project.
The KLIP is said to be the only project in the world which will lift two thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of water per day. Though this will begin from July, KCR went ahead with the inauguration of the project, saying the time is not auspicious for the ceremony next month.
KCR invited the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister as another gesture to amicably resolve the inter-state problems. The two states are set to begin a dialogue later this month to resolve the differences over sharing of waters from the Godavari and Krishna rivers.
Officials said the state government has so far spent Rs 50,000 crore on this project, both from self-funding and loans raised from a consortium of 20 banks.
KCR said at a press conference that the Centre has not given a single rupee for the project. “Do I have to invite him for every project”, he asked while defending the decision not to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inauguration.
The Centre ignored the Telangana government’s repeated demand to declare Kaleshwaram a national project.
Claimed to be an engineering marvel, the project comprises a 1,832 km water supply route, 1531 km gravity canal, 203 km tunnel routes, 20 lifts, 19 pump houses and 19 reservoirs with a storage capacity of 141 TMCs.
It requires nearly 4,992 MW of electricity to pump 2 TMC of water every day in the first phase. The requirement will go up to 7,152 MW for lifting 3 TMC from next year.
On a call given by KCR, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) organized celebrations across the state to mark the inauguration of Kaleshwaram.
At TRS headquarters Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, ministers and senior leaders joined the celebrations.
The party leaders also performed puja at various temples in the state to mark the occasion.