Punjab CM keen to replicate Telangana irrigation model


Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Singh Mann said on Thursday that he is looking to replicate the successful irrigation model of Telangana in his state to recharge groundwater and properly channelise river water.
On a day-long visit to Telangana to study some irrigation projects in the state, he said that Punjab needs to properly harness river waters to ease the pressure on groundwater due to paddy cultivation
Mann, who along with officials visited Siddipet district, told reporters that the ground water level in some parts of Punjab depleted to alarming levels due to over utilization of groundwater resources for growing paddy. He said 3,800 liters of water has been drawn from the ground to grow one kilogram of paddy. “We have reached a situation where 80 per cent of the places have gone into a dark zone,” he said.
He said though Punjab is a state of rivers, the state’s canal system was built before partition and this needs to be upgraded.
Stating that Punjab is number one in the country in paddy production, he said his government was taking steps for crop diversification. However, as the Centre provides no Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops other than paddy and wheat, farmers were reluctant to switch to alternate crops.
Praising Telangana for developing a good system for recharge of groundwater, he said he would return to Punjab with a lot of learning from here. He was impressed with Telangana’s success in groundwater recharge and building check-dams.
He said if Telangana’s successful model is replicated in Punjab, the state can save money on electricity subsidy and use the same for the welfare of farmers.
The Punjab Chief Minister visited Kondapochamma Sagar reservoir, built as part of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS), which is claimed to be the largest lift irrigation project in the world. The officials of the irrigation department briefed him about the various aspects of the mega project. With the help of maps and charts, the officials explained to him how the water from Godavari River is being lifted.
Bhagwant Mann enquired about the working of the entire system built under KLIS and was impressed with the planning and execution by the authorities.