River Interlinking

Supreme Court orders status quo on Kaleshwaram Project expansion

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

Mains level : Read the attached story

 

The Supreme Court has ordered status quo on the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) after it was told the Telangana government was increasing the capacity of the project without any environmental clearances.

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP)

  • The KLIP is a multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhupalpally in Telangana.
  • Currently the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, its farthest upstream influence is at the confluence of the Pranhita and Godavari rivers.
  • The Pranahita River is itself a confluence of various smaller tributaries including the Wardha, Painganga, and Wainganga rivers which combine to form the seventh-largest drainage basin on the subcontinent.
  • It remains untapped as its course is principally through dense forests and other ecologically sensitive zones such as wildlife sanctuaries.

Grandeur of the project

  • Till date, the biggest lift schemes in the world were the Colorado lift scheme in America and the Great Manmade River in Egypt.
  • The capacities of these schemes are in horsepower and they took over three decades for completion.
  • Now, the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, an Indian lift scheme has become the worlds biggest in terms of capacities.

Key facts associated

  • Built across Godavari river, KLIP will lift the water to a height of half-a-kilometre.
  • It is designed to irrigate 45 lakh acres for two crops in a year, meet the drinking water requirement of 70 percent of the state and also cater to the needs of the industry.
  • The foundation stone for the Rs 80,500 crore project was laid in 2016 and claimed to be the world’s biggest project of its kind, completed in the shortest time.
  • The government is planning to lift two thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of Godavari water per day from Medigadda barrage.
  • Claimed to be an engineering marvel, the project comprises 1,832 km water supply route, 1,531 km gravity canal, 203 km tunnel routes, 20 lifts, 19 pump houses and 19 reservoirs with a storage capacity of 141 TMCs.
  • It requires nearly 4,992 MW of electricity to pump 2 TMC of water every day in the first phase. The requirement will go up to 7,152 MW for lifting 3 TMC from next year.

How important is KLIP to Telangana?

  • The project will enable farmers in Telangana to reap multiple crops with a year-round supply of water wherein earlier they were dependent on rains resulting in frequent crop failures.
  • This year, Telangana farmers have already delivered bumper rabi crops of paddy and maize due to better irrigation facilities and an extended monsoon.
  • KLIS covers several districts which used to face rainfall deficit and the groundwater is fluoride-contaminated.
  • Apart from irrigation, a main component of the project is the supply of drinking water to several towns and villages and also to twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
  • Mission Bhagiratha, to supply drinking water to every household in villages, draws a large quantity of water from the KLIS and some quantity from projects on River Krishna.
  • There is a burgeoning freshwater fishing industry in the state.

Issues with the Project

  • The NGT has observed that the Telangana government subsequently changed the design of the project to increase its capacity.
  • By increasing its capacity to pump 3 TMC water from 2 TMC, large tracts of forest land and other land were taken over and massive infrastructure was built causing an adverse impact on the environment.
  • Extraction of more water certainly requires more storage capacity and also affects hydrology and riverine ecology of Godavari River.
  • Such issues have to be examined by the statutory authorities concerned.

Back2Basics: National Green Tribunal

  • It is a specialized body set up under the National Green Tribunal Act (2010) for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources.
  • With the establishment of the NGT, India became the third country in the world to set up a specialized environmental tribunal, only after Australia and New Zealand, and the first developing country to do so.
  • NGT is mandated to make disposal of applications or appeals finally within 6 months of filing of the same.
  • The NGT has five places of sittings, New Delhi is the Principal place of sitting and Bhopal, Pune, Kolkata and Chennai are the other four.

Structure of NGT

  • The Tribunal comprises of the Chairperson, the Judicial Members and Expert Members. They shall hold office for a term of five years and are not eligible for reappointment.
  • The Chairperson is appointed by the Central Government in consultation with the Chief Justice of India (CJI).
  • A Selection Committee shall be formed by the central government to appoint the Judicial Members and Expert Members.
  • There are to be at least 10 and a maximum 20 full-time judicial members and Expert Members in the tribunal.

 

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