Saturday, April 20, 2024

PRLIS will end droughts, distress and migration: Niranjan

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NAVEENA GHANATE
Hyderabad

With Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao set to flag off the Palamuru–Rangareddy Lift Irrigation Scheme’s (PRLIS) wet run at Narlapur today (Saturday), the Minister of Agriculture, Singireddy Niranjan Reddy, spoke to ‘The Pioneer’ of realising his dream of bringing Krishna waters to all houses in Mahbubnagar. Here are excerpts from the interview.

What does PRLIS mean for Telangana, especially South Telangana?
A: The Palamuru Rangareddy Lift Irrigation project will profoundly change the lives of people. It will permanently solve droughts, end distress migration and make agriculture a sound way of life. The project executed at an estimated cost of Rs 35,000 crore, will quench the thirst of South Telangana comprising the erstwhile districts of Mahbubnagar, Nalgonda and Rangareddy districts and will irrigate 12.30 lakh acres. This project will create a carpet of green fields in South Telangana like Konaseema in a few years. The dry run of the Narlapur Pump House was conducted on September 3 and today South Telangana will witness history being made through the wet run.

The opposition says that the inauguration stunt was taken up now due to elections. What do you say?
A: These are meaningless statements. The work was completed due to our resolve despite the cases filed by our opponents. Driven by envy at seeing the achievements of the BRS, the leaders of the Congress and the BJP filed false cases with the National Green Tribunal and the High Court. The government persisted until the project was executed and now it is ready for inauguration. The land required for the project was 66,064 acres. After surmounting all the obstacles put up by the opposition, we acquired the 27,047 acres required for Phase I. Phase II needs 39,017 acres and land acquisition is in progress.

What do you have to say about Congress leader Revanth Reddy and BJP leader DK Aruna’s statement that starting one pump house doesn’t mean the project has been executed?
A: They have no idea about irrigation projects, particularly lift irrigation. All the reservoirs, four pumping stations, tunnels and connecting canals have been completed. Pumps will start one after the other. In United Andhra Pradesh, the project was hastily announced to derail the Telangana movement and dupe the people of Palamuru. The opposition failed to realise that the project is actually decades old but it was Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao who executed it. Drinking water will be supplied to 1,226 villages in Mahbubnagar, Nagarkurnool, Narayanpet, Vikarabad, Rangareddy and Nalgonda districts under Phase-1. Drinking water also will be supplied to Hyderabad city.

When will the remaining pump houses start?
A: Every fortnight a pump will be made operational and the ayacut will get water gradually from the next season. About 12.30 lakh acres is the district-wise ayacut of which 3.59 lakh acres is in Rangareddy, about 3.41 lakh acres in Vikarabad, around 2.35 lakh acres in Mahbubnagar, about 1.60 lakh acres in Narayanpet, 1.03 lakh acres in Nagarkurnool and around 0.29 lakh acres in Nalgonda. Our commitment towards the people of this region helped us overcome all challenges and today we can proudly say that through PRLIS each and every acre will be irrigated with Krishna waters.

Why didn’t you demand national project status for PRLIS?
A: We requested that many times but the Centre ignored it. The Centre did not allocate Telangana’s share of Krishna waters and because of that the project got delayed. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi spoke about the Palamuru project. In fact, Sonia said that the Palamuru project will be declared a national project. But neither the BJP nor the Congress spoke about it in the last nine years.

What is the most significant moment of the project dear to you?
A: All moments are close to my heart as day in and day out I was involved all through. I vowed to bring water to my home and the houses of millions of others who are in the Krishna basin. I was confident that one day ‘Krishnamma’ will come into my house and my land providing water for drinking and agriculture. So I named my house ‘Krishnamma.’

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