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HomeThePrint EssentialAll about Telangana's Kaleshwaram, one of the world's biggest irrigation projects

All about Telangana’s Kaleshwaram, one of the world’s biggest irrigation projects

The Kaleshwaram project was inaugurated Friday by the CMs of Telangana, Maharashtra & Andhra. It will provide irrigation & drinking water to millions of people.

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New Delhi: The government of Telangana Friday inaugurated the Kaleshwaram multi-purpose lift irrigation project, which is being hailed as one of the biggest irrigation and drinking water supply projects in the world.

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy were present at the inauguration.

To let people know about the project, the Telangana government put out full-front page advertisements in many leading newspapers across the country Friday, stating that the project will be the “the new lifeline of Telangana state”.

Lift irrigation is a system through which water is lifted with the help of mechanical equipment like pumps. It is used to irrigate areas that are located at a higher level than existing water sources.

Built at an estimated cost of Rs 80,500 crore, the project has been completed in three years. It is expected to provide 169 TMC ft (thousand million cubic feet) water to irrigate 45 lakh acres of land, 40 TMC ft for drinking purposes, and 16 TMC ft for industrial usage.


The project was originally conceptualised as the Dr B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi project. In accordance with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT) report of October 1975, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh had agreed to share the river’s waters for some projects at the appropriate time, one of which was the Pranahita-Chevella project.

However, later, that project was divided into two parts — Dr B.R. Ambedkar Pranahita Project and Kaleshwaram Project. Also, the location of the latter was changed from Tummidihatti to Medigadda.

Two reasons were provided for this. First, it is assumed that the availability of Godavari water is better at Medigadda. Second, Maharashtra raised objections to Tummidihatti as it believed that large swathes of its own area would get submerged.

Also read: Telangana man worships Trump to curb racism and help India win cricket matches

What the project is all about

Under this project, three barrages have been constructed across the Godavari river between Yellampally and Medigadda. The project has also been divided into seven links, which encompass an extensive network of canals and tunnels to transport water. The total length of gravity canals stands at 1,531 km and the total tunnel length is 203 km.

Sixteen reservoirs have been constructed to store water, with a total capacity of 141 TMC ft.

The project has also created several world records. One of the underground tunnels, which is 14.09 km long, is expected to hold two crore litres of water.

The Telangana government has also requested this project be declared a national project. It also found a mention in the Telangana Rashtra Samithi’s manifesto in last year’s state elections. The manifesto mentioned it as one of the important projects which is being completed on “war-footing” to provide irrigated water to one crore acres of land.


Despite its importance, the project has faced multiple challenges as well. In October 2017, for instance, the project was stayed by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) after a petition was filed challenging its construction. A year later, however, NGT dismissed the petition and allowed the state to continue with the project.

In December 2017, an Expert Appraisal Committee of the union environment ministry had asked the Telangana government to compensate farmers under the Land Acquisition Act, 2013.

Also read: How Congress spies a chance to reboot in Telangana after defection crisis


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  1. Jayaprakash Narayan, the retired IAS OFFICER and president of a political party in Andhra Pradesh has commented extensively about the viability, economy and other aspects of the Kaleswaram project. In the interest of fair reporting and ethical journalism, can print publish his views on this project? I don’t think so because journalism and publishing has become a money-minting business. Loss making propositions will not be entertained.

  2. The article is superficial as the project is not complete and the amount spent is less than 50% of project cost. Don’t provide half backed data.

  3. How a project of such magnitude i.e. 80 k crores can be completed in 3 years. Projects of similar magnitude-Narbada in Gujarat 25yrs to complete, IGNP-Indira Gandhi Nahar Project took 40yrs to complete. It is clear now that project may be 25% complete only and ìnauguration has bden done in hurry. Surprised that sharp brains at Print failed to notice discrepencies

  4. It is amazing that this project without Central aid could be completed in 3 years time. This must rank with Delhi’s metro as one of the best projects in India , for speed of execution. Every State can learn from Telengana now.

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