KCR unveils major plans for minor irrigation sector in TS

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has unveiled his government’s plans to make the minor irrigation sector the lifeline of the rural economy in the State again by spending a large amount of Rs. 22,500 crore on restoration of tanks, including revival of chain-link tank system, over the next five years.

By restoring the primacy of the minor irrigation sector, the Chief Minister intends to achieve multiple benefits such as utilising 265 tmcft of already allotted water of Godavari and Krishna rivers, improving the groundwater table, reducing overdependence on groundwater and easing the burden on the power sector. He wanted the officials to bring all water bodies – minor/medium irrigation tanks, panchayat raj tanks and ponds under the Irrigation Department.

Neglected in united AP
Speaking at a day-long state-level workshop on minor irrigation at JNTU, Kukatpally, here on Thursday, he alleged that the sector was systematically destroyed in the combined Andhra Pradesh since 1956 as most of Telangana was dependent on tank irrigation system till then. “The combined AP dispensation neglected it since such a system was not in use in Seemandhra as the focus there had been on major projects and canal irrigation,” Mr. Rao said.

The neglect was so obvious and shocking that not even a Superintending Engineer’s post was sanctioned to Mahabubnagar district, which had over 7,000 irrigation tanks, the Chief Minister said. Elaborating on his plans to revive the minor irrigation sector, the Chief Minister said over 9,000 tanks would be repaired and restored every year to cover 45,300 tanks in five years.

No EPC system
Suggesting changes in the irrigation sector, the Chief Minister made it clear that there would be no EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) system from now on and directed the engineers to conduct surveys and prepare estimates of works on their own. He instructed the officials concerned to release Rs. 20 crore immediately for purchasing survey instruments and preparing estimates for the restoration of tanks.

Asking the department to sensitise people, particularly the youth, on the importance of tanks, Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao said he would participate in restoration work by lifting 10 baskets of soil in every district and would ask all elected representatives and officials to do the same to inspire people to render ‘shramadaan’ for two days.

Source: The Hindu

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