Telangana chief minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday inaugurated the ₹80,190 crore Kaleshwaram irrigation project at its starting point in Medigadda (Jayshankar Bhupalapally) district of the state. A historic landmark for Telangana, the project's completion also marks Rao fulfilling one of his election promises. L&T Construction, the construction arm of Larsen & Toubro, completed the iconic Medigadda Barrage, in just 24 months.
Designed to bring drinking water and irrigation to the parched areas of Telangana, a total of about 225 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water will be drawn through it from the Godavari river basin. The project, which will involve building reservoirs at various places, is expected to irrigate 18.24 lakh acres of land in the state with 165 TMC of water, provide 56 TMC of drinking water and supply another 10 TMC for industrial purposes.
Originally called Pranahita-Chevella project, which was undertaken by the Congress-ruled erstwhile Andhra Pradesh, it was redesigned, extended and rechristened Kaleshwaram project after Rao’s Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) came to power in Telangana in 2014. The cost of the works too went up from a little over ₹40,300 crore to ₹80,000 crore after the redesigning.
Previously, water was to be drawn from the Godavari river by constructing a barrage at Tummidihatti village in Adilabad district at a cost of ₹40,300 crore (under the original plan) to irrigate 16.14 lakh acres. Now, the same is to be done at Medigadda village in Jayshankar-Bhoopalpally district. A senior official from the state’s irrigation department said that once fully completed, it will solve the issue of supplying water across Telangana to farmers for irrigation.
The completion of this project by L&T is a first-of-its-kind in the Indian construction industry and has set several records in terms of sheer use of voluminous material like concrete and steel in record time in a challenging operating environment, said a press release from L&T Construction on Friday. “We are extremely proud that we have been able to deliver a project of this magnitude and complexity to international quality and safety standards," it quoted S. N. Subrahmanyan, chief executive officer and managing director, L&T.
The Kaleshwaram project is also being touted as one of the world’s largest irrigation projects that has been undertaken. Megha Engineering Infrastructure Limited (MEIL), is one of the other major construction companies that is also working on the project. Once fully completed, places like Karimnagar, Rajanna Sircilla, Siddipet, Medak, Yadadri, Nalgonda, Sangareddy, Nizamabad, Jagtial, etc, across the state, will be irrigated.
Under the projects, 3 barrages and 19 reservoirs will be constructed for the storage capacity of 141 TMC, and about 4992.47 mega watts (MW) is required for its functioning. The entire length of the water supply route will be 1,832 kilometers.