A farmer plants rice saplings in a paddy field against the backdrop of pre-monsoon clouds. (File picture)Reuters file

Telangana, which has the second highest farmer suicides in the country after Vidharba (Maharashtra) mainly due to failure of monsoon rain and poor irrigation facilities, is set to witness a revolution after the Rs 80,000-crore Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme starts pumping water to the parched fields of the state later this year.

Billed as the largest irrigation project in the world, it is the brainchild of Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao who promised in his election manifesto – irrigation facility for everyone − to end the horrendous rate of suicides among farmers.

Here the salient features of the project

– At Rs 80,000 crore its is the costliest irrigation project in the country ever.

– The water harnessed by the project will irrigate 18 lakh acres in 13 districts and stabilise 17 lakh acres in seven districts, thus covering almost all the state.

– The project will provide drinking water to many towns and cities in the state, including Hyderabad and Secunderabad. Water will also be provided to industries in several states.

How will the project get the water and distribute it?

– It will harness water from the point where three rivers merge with the mighty Godavari River. A barrage is being constructed at Medigadda in district Jayashankar Bhupalpally for this purpose. The water from the barrage will then be pumped back into the main Godavari Rivers and in turn diverted into a system of reservoirs, canals, pipelines, reservoirs and water tunnels.

– The project has been divided into seven links and 28 packages and requires digging 20 reservoirs across 13 districts, which will have a combined capacity of holding 145 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water (1 TMC is equivalent to 28,316,846,592 litres of water). All the reservoirs will be interconnected by a network of tunnels having a combined length of around 330 km.

– The longest tunnel having a length of 21 km will connect Medaram reservoir with Yellampalli reservoir.

– The network of canals will cover 1832 km and take water as far as 500 km from the source.

– Water will be lifted to the 650 metre high Kondapochamma reservoir, the highest in the project, in Gajwel.

Many world firsts!

– From the first week of August, a world record will be created when mammoth 139 MW pumps will start lifting 2000 TMC of water every day and pump it into two barrages – Sundilla and Annaram. From these two reservoirs the water will flow into Yellampalli reservoir. And from there the distribution of water will start through canals and pipelines.

– The water to the above mentioned barrages will come from the Medigadda barrage through a 14.09 km underground tunnel, the longest irrigation tunnel on the planet.

– The cavern and surge pool, from where the pump would operate has a capacity of 2 crore litres of water, a world record.

Telangana irrigation minister T Harish Rao told Indian Express that around Dussehra, 50 per cent of the project will be completed with the completion of the 120-km link comprising tunnels, canals and pumps between Medigadda and Mid Manair reservoir.