Telangana urges PPA to ensure free flow condition at Polavaram without impoundment of water

Telangana claimed AP and Centre have no right to proceed with the project without undertaking any appropriate protective measures in the state.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 04, 2023 | 6:55 PM Updated Jun 04, 2023 | 6:56 PM

Polavaram dam

Telangana has requested the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) to ensure free flow condition at Polavaram without impoundment of water with all its 48 gates including the river sluices remaining open all through the water year, in view of the ensuing monsoon.

It once again urged to initiate action for undertaking the joint survey for resolving such impediment duly taking into cognizance of the Supreme Court orders dated 6 September, 2022, and thereby undertake requisite protection measures to avoid submergence in Telangana territory as per Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal Award (GWDTA).

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Letter to the PPA

In a letter to the PPA’s chief executive engineer, Telangana Irrigation and Command Area Development (CAD) Engineer-in-Chief (General) Ch Muralidhar said the state government filed a petition in Supreme Court to declare that the Andhra Pradesh government and the Centre had no right or entitlement to proceed with the Polavaram Project without undertaking any appropriate protective measures in Telangana due to effects related to causing submergence and flooding of its areas in its territory.

Consequent to the court orders dated 6 September, 2022, Telangana brought its concerns to the notice of the Central Water Commission (CWC), PPA. and Andhra Pradesh in the technical and coordination meetings convened and further also through its protracted correspondence.

During such meetings, the state has provided all evidence and clearly laid its concerns on all the issues.

The chairman of the CWC in the technical meeting has consented to address the concerns by conducting a joint survey under the aegis of PPA in the first instance to ascertain the extent of submergence in Telangana territory due to impounding of water at Polavaram upto Full Reservoir Level (FRL).

Consents to verification

The chairman also consented to verification of the levels in the area of the stretch from the state border extending upto Dummagudem anicut upstream covering the local streams for the submergence and the impact (Drainage congestion & stagnation) and important structures like Sarpaka ITC, Manuguru HWP and Bhadrachalam town including the historical temple.

The court too, in its order, stressed more technical study reports as may be required depending on the expansion of the project for ascertaining the impacts upstream States’ territories.

Post the coordination meeting held on 12 April, 2023, PPA forwarded the data furnished by Andhra Pradesh with assurance for facilitating the ground-truthing by conducting a joint survey.

The data has also clearly established that about 954 acres of land are coming under submergence in Telangana due to standing water when Pol is at FRL (+150ft).

The demarcation of areas (impacted due to backwater (BW)) as per the CWC report is also to be undertaken with respect to Kinnerasani and Murreduvagu Rivers drainage.

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Standing water could result in congestion

It was clearly reported that the standing water at FRL (+45.72 m / 150 ft) coupled with any inflows would result in local drainage congestion in 31 such other local streams along the banks even during the non-monsoon period.

The report said that it could also cause frequent flash floods and result in the submergence of seven mandals of Aswapuram, Bhadrachalam, Burgampahad, Cherla, Dummugudem, Pinapaka and Manuguru due to afflux also in the main river Godavari.

This would also cause the submergence of agricultural lands and affect existing lift irrigation schemes, ITC park, heavy water plant etc.

The CWC chairman, during the technical meeting, consented to a joint survey on seven identified big local streams drainage congestion in the first instance which is also to be undertaken as directed by CWC.

But Andhra Pradesh is yet to respond to the joint survey.

Telangana requested immediate ground-truthing through a joint survey (even without the involvement of Andhra Pradesh in case of non-cooperation from it, without further loss of time in view of the upcoming monsoon season.

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Telangana raises issues

Telangana raised issues concerning BW effects in the state by undertaking a fresh study considering the latest River cross-sections, correct assessment of Probable Maximum Flood (PMF) and its corresponding effects remain unaddressed despite the timeframe fixed by the Supreme Court.

The July 2022 floods flooded 103 villages, submerging 40,446 acres and displacing a population of 28000.

This huge impact is for the recorded gauge level of 71.3 feet at Bhadrachalam (+178.3 Mean Sea Level (MSL)) which is abnormally high in comparison to previous MED and is estimated that in all about 50,000 acres would come under submergence if 1986 Highest Flood Level (HFL) of 75.6 feet (+182.6 MSL) is impinged due to the BW effect of Polavaram.

The choking of drains has occurred in almost all the local streams on either side of the main river Godavari causing such havoc.

Andhra Pradesh is not accepting the impact of the July 2022 flood to be related to Polavaram citing that there was no water impoundment at the Polavaram project.

Telangana is seeking fresh study considering the latest river cross-sections, correct assessment and its corresponding BW effects by any independent agency under the aegis of CWC or PPA.