A comment on ‘Mission Kakatiya’ doomed, says NGRI report

By: J R Janumpalli

The news or the purported report is misleading. It is true that Mission kakatiya is a programme of massive investment. If it does not create commensurate benefits it will not be cost effective. But, what is that comprehensive scientific approach that NGRI thinks appropriate and the state is missing is not explained here. The tanks that are being repaired have not dried up because of non availability of ground water. In actual fact, they have not much to do with ground water directly. The tanks receive water from surface run off of rain water. The erratic rainfall because of change of climatic patterns has severely affected surface run off of rain water, which is the source for these tanks. Added to this, the drastic lowering down of ground water table owing to very heavy overdraft of ground water by innumerable borewells in the state also affecting the free flow of surface water.

The tanks are reservoirs of water on the ground, created by the bunds constructed across streams, and rivulets in the undultaed terrain of the state. They are not dug in to the ground and have nothing much to do with the underground hard rock gelogical formations. Over the years they have got silted up reducing their water storage capacity. Now the accumulated silt is dug up and removed to restore its original storage. The observation that “state having hard rock formations, …….. in hard rock areas, the occurrence of ground water and its movement are controlled by the thickness of the weathered layer and the presence of fractures and solutions cavities” has no relevance here.

These tanks are not either open wells or bore wells which were dug in the weathered zone in to the earth. They have nothing to do with ground water regime. The present work done on the tanks is removing the silt accumulated over the years; repairing inflow channels, for increasing the water storage capacity; strengthening the weekend tank bunds and weirs to make them more durable, thus restoring or increasing the reservoir capacity of the tanks. In addition to this, to augment the depleted inflows in to these tanks, it is planned to link the tanks to medium and major irrigation projects existing and the projects in the pipeline, wherever possible.

Thus these tanks have nothing to do with the hard rock geological formations and the water movement under ground actually, restoration of these numerous tanks to their original storage capacity will increase the replenishment of ground water and help rising the ground water table, acting as percolation tanks. As a matter of fact it is considered an excellent project to address the bane of bore wells in the state which has rendered its ground water resources very precarious, by lowering its ground water table to dangerously low level.

“Telangana is a comparatively small state with respect to geographical area and population, but it is not very favourable for water resources. The state government has to be extremely serious. The government’s efforts are laudable, but there is a need for scientific approach,” NGRI chief scientist Shakeel Ahmed told TOI.

It is not understood the connection of being comparatively small state with geographical area and population and favorable water resources. There are many smaller states in the country with better water resources. The state is a hilly region with low and moderate rainfall and a very undulated topography that is why it has so many thousands of tanks built historically to impound the water to make most of its limited water resources. These tanks have stood the test of time and had been the main stay of irrigation and drinking water needs of the states population. They have also helped to improve water table in the hard rock geological formations, to draw ground water for conjunctive use and irrigation.

The news report is very bald with out providing the details of the scientific approach contemplated by NGRI in this matter. NGRI needs to make its scientific approach on this Project public. There is need for TS government to get in touch with NGRI and get to the brass tacks of the latter’s observations for veracity and clarification.

Source: Times of India

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