Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project and environmental concerns

  • Why in  the news: One of the most ambitious project of  Telangana, the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project is once again in the news. Environmentalists are raising eyebrows about its irrecoverable costs.
  • Environmental costs: According to the environmental experts, this project will lead to loss of forest cover to an extent of over 7,800 acres. State forest department says that a total of 22 lakh forest trees will be hacked to accommodate canals, reservoirs and other structures of the project. However some environmentalist are saying that the figure could be much greater, at 25 lakh. 
  • Environmental concerns: According to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report, a total of 391 plant species — 116 trees, 53 shrubs, 15 lianas (woody vines), 37 climbers, and 170 herbs — were recorded post-monsoons in the project area. Of them, six were listed as vulnerable species as per the IUCN Red List.

About the Project

  • The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) is Claimed to be the costliest irrigation project to be taken up by any State with an estimated cost of ₹80,500 crore.
  • The gigantic plans of the government to irrigate millions of acres of lands covering several districts with Godavari river waters  
  •  It will provide irrigation facility to one crore acres of land under all projects/tanks. 
  •  It is  an off-shoot of the original Pranahitha-Chevella Lift Irrigation Scheme taken up by the then government in 2007 when Andhra Pradesh was not divided. 
  • The Kaleshwaram project has provision for the storage of about 148 tmc ft with plans of utilising 180 tmc ft by lifting at least 2 tmc ft water every day for 90 flood days. 
  • To speed up the the Mallannasagar reservoir construction under this project  the State government amended the 2013 Land Acquisition Act. 
  • The project has the longest tunnel to carry water in Asia, running up to 81 km, between the Yellampally barrage and the Mallannasagar reservoir.
  • The project would also utilise the highest capacity pumps, up to 139 MW, in the country to lift water.

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