Channels of progress

Published : Feb 01, 2008 00:00 IST

A picture of Sir Arthur Cotton taken during the construction of the barrage.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

A picture of Sir Arthur Cotton taken during the construction of the barrage.-THE HINDU PHOTO LIBRARY

EAST and West Godavari are known as rich districts in Andhra Pradesh. They are also referred to as the rice bowl of the State, as 45 per cent of the States paddy is cultivated in them. Particularly, East Godavari district with its vast delta area has tremendous irrigation potential. Apart from the Dowleswaram Anicut (Sir Arthur Cotton Barrage), five major and medium irrigation projects are under way. The Cotton barrage is considered a boon to farmers.

Built 150 years ago, the barrage is one of the oldest major irrigation projects in the State. Although it irrigates a total of 7.5 lakh acres in both districts, it mostly benefits East Godavari covering 2,45,300 acres in the eastern delta. An additional 35,870 acres is irrigated by the Pitapuram branch canal.

In the central delta, about 2,01,896 acres are cultivated and the Yeleru canal irrigates 53,000 acres. No other project in the State provides so much irrigation facility to farmers, and the entire credit goes to Apara Bhagiratha Sir Arthur Cotton [Bhagiratha is a mythical character who is believed to have brought the Ganga to the earth], said K.V.S.L.N. Raju, Superintendent Engineer of the Dowleswaram Projects.

K. Venkateswara Rao, Chief Engineer of the Indira Sagar Project, which is better known as the Polavaram Major Irrigation Project, said that once the project was completed, it would benefit 2.50 lakh acres in dry and partly rain-fed areas of East Godavari district apart from providing drinking water to hundreds of villages in East Godavari and Visakhapatnam districts.

The land acquisition process has started and relief and rehabilitation is under way. The government is waiting for environmental and other clearances. Once it is cleared and the project completed, it will create a history, said Ravindra Babu, Superintendent Engineer.

The Soorampalem project in Ramapachodavaram subdivision provides water to 14,000 acres in tribal areas. The Musurumilli and the Bhoopatipalem are the other ongoing projects that would irrigate 23,086 acres and 22,640 acres respectively. These projects will also provide drinking water to about 300 villages in Agency areas.

Out of the 178 km of the Polavaram canals, 111 km will be in East Godavari. The areas to be covered include the Pushkara Lift Irrigation Scheme.

The Pushkara will irrigate 1.86 thousand acres extending from Purushothapatnam to Tuni, the tail-end area of the district. The Chagalnadu Lift Irrigation scheme will irrigate another 32,000 acres.

B.V.S. Bhaskar
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