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Ponnala inspects proposed site Link canal to change face of backward areas

By N. Rahul

RAPUR (NELLORE DT.), MARCH 28. A new hope has dawned on villagers of the most backward pockets of Nellore district here with the State Government preparing an ambitious plan for a Rs. 470-crore link canal to irrigate the parched fields.

The link canal envisages irrigation of 97,000 acres of wet crop and 14,000 acres of irrigated dry crop by filling up four balancing reservoirs and 310 minor irrigation tanks on its 113-km course up to the Swarnamukhi river in Chittoor district. Senior irrigation and Government officials have inspected the site even as administrative sanction for the project is awaited.

The Major Irrigation Minister, Ponnala Lakshmaiah, examined the proposal for the Somasila -Swarnamukhi link-canal along the 45-km-long Somasila - Kandaleru flood-flow canal here on Sunday. He also inaugurated a resettlement centre for construction of houses to the project oustees of the Kandaleru reservoir at nearby Sankranthipalli village.

House sites sanctioned

Over 150 displaced families of Pokurupalli village were sanctioned house plots at the new location over 21 acres. That would leave only Regadipalli and Nellepalli villagers to be rehabilitated out of a population of 23 villages which got submerged in the Kandaleru project.

A villager of Regadipalli, S. Anjaneyulu Naidu, told The Hindu that the project evacuees had been living in penury for the last two decades. They did not have any means of livelihood after they surrendered their lands to the project.

Peculiar feature

A peculiar feature of the villages here is that they have the Kandaleru reservoir closeby with a capacity of 68 tmcft but the storage in it is just 15 tmcft. The dam mainly meets the drinking water requirements of Chennai through the Satya Sai Ganga canal which runs over 100 km up to the Poondy reservoir as part of the Telugu Ganga project. Only a few hundred acres of land on the other side get a bare 50 cusecs of water for wetting their crop.

The Chief Engineer of Telugu Ganga, Ch. Vijay Kumar Reddy, said the storage of the reservoir could go up after its foundation problems which were being treated were completed. The dam is considered the biggest in Asia with a length of 10.75 km. The Minister and his entourage motored on the narrow earthen road of the dam which did not even have sidewalls on a visit to the Somasila project.

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