Vijayawada, Sep 16 (IANS) Godavari and Krishna rivers in Andhra Pradesh were formally linked on Wednesday with the commissioning of Pattiseema lift irrigation project in Krishna district.
Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu unveiled a pylon at Ferry village near Ibrahimpatnam to formally launch the project, linking the two major rivers.
Amid the chanting of Vedic hymns by the priests, Naidu performed puja at the confluence of the two rivers. His cabinet colleagues and a large number of local people were present.
Naidu later left for Pattiseema in West Godavari district to switch on the first pump of his pet project to release water from Godavari into the Polavaram right main canal that links with the Krishna river upstream of the Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada.
In what is claimed to be the first-ever river interlinking in the country, the project is expected to meet the irrigation and drinking water needs of drought-prone Rayalseema region and also bring stabilisation under Krishna delta.
Naidu described it as a historic occasion and named the Ferry village as Godavari-Krishna Pavitra Sangamam, which will be developed as a tourism spot.
The project is designed to draw 120 tmc ft (thousand million cubic feet) from Godavari going waster into the sea and release them into the Krishna. This is expected to change the face of both Rayalaseema and Krishna delta.
Considered rice bowl of India, Krishna delta is facing water shortage due to construction of dams in upstream Karnataka.
Megha Engineering Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has completed the first phase works in less than six months. All the 24 pumps brought from China will be ready for operation by March next year.
Though Naidu had dedicated the project to people on August 15, it could not be commissioned.
Telugu Desam Party-led government is claiming completion of the first phase of this Rs.1,300 crore project as a major achievement.
The project was first mooted in 1950s by eminent engineer K.L. Rao, who was also the central water resources minister. The plan was revived during Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s NDA government but could be taken up only this year.