The changing face of Palamuru: Once drought-stricken land reshaped under KCR’s rule

The erstwhile Mahabubnagar district, encompassing today’s Wanaparthy, Nagarkurnool, Mahabubnagar, Gadwal and Narayanpet districts, was infamous for chronic drought, agricultural distress, and rampant migration. Despite river Krishna flowing through the district, the Palamuru region faced a severe drinking water and irrigation water crisis with one-third of the population migrating to other places in the country. Rulers in the united Andhra Pradesh barely batted an eye towards the Palamuru problem. It took the formation of Telangana state and the rule of KCR to witness an unprecedented turnaround.

The area with parched lands now turned green with lush fields due to the focus by CM KCR to pull the region out of the crisis. A multi-pronged approach by the Telangana government has transformed Mahabubnagar and reshaped the landscape. The programmes initiated by CM KCR such as the rejuvenation of lakes under Mission Kakatiya, restoration of old canals and sluices, restarting the pending irrigation projects such as Kalwakurthy, Nettempadu, Beema, Kalwakurthy, Koilsagar, and the construction of new check dams have significantly improved the water catchment.

Many lakes and check dams have been interlinked to irrigation projects, 2,645 lakes were rejuvenated under Mission Kakatiya and 66 check dams were constructed spending Rs. 333 crores in the old Mahabubnagar district. All these steps led to increased water storage and improved groundwater levels. Groundwater level improved from 15.68m Below Ground Level in 2016-17 to 7.44m Below Ground Level in 2021-22 and the total area under ayacut has risen from 2.28 lakh acres in 2014 to 11 lakh acres in 2023.

Resultantly, Palamuru is witnessing reverse migration now and farmers in the district are exporting agricultural produce to other regions as yield in agriculture and allied sectors have seen tremendous growth. Once the ongoing works of Palamuru-Ranga Reddy lift irrigation project works are completed, the face of Palamuru will be changed forever.