|The State government is all set to take steps for early construction of the Neradi barrage across the Vamsadhara, thanks to the recent clearance accorded to the project by the Vamsadhara Water Disputes Tribunal.|
According to sources, the government has to spend ₹100 crore for construction of the barrage that ensures assured irrigation to more than one lakh acres.
Farmers can grow two crops in a year with the availability of abundant water.
“The barrage can be constructed in three years as work can be taken up only during summer and winter. With curtains down on the six-decade-old dispute with Odisha over sharing of the river waters, the government is likely to finalise an action plan. The tribunal’s verdict will ensure speedy development of 20 mandals in the district,” says a senior official of the Irrigation Department.
The Vamsadhara, which originates in Odisha, flows for 154 km in that State, 29 km along the border between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, and 82 km in Andhra Pradesh.
On September 30, 1962, an agreement had been reached between Odisha and Andhra Pradesh to share waters in the ratio of 50:50. Following the agreement, the State government had proposed to take up the project in two stages. Stage I of the project, comprising the Gotta barrage and left main canal, had been completed in 1978 itself.
The barrage assured irrigation facility for an ayacut of 1.48 lakh acres with utilisation of 17.841 tmcft of water.
Under Stage II, comprising the Neradi barrage, it was proposed to irrigate 1.07 lakh acres with utilisation of 16.048 tmcft of water.
However, Odisha objected to the construction of the Neradi barrage citing land acquisition and inundation problems in its jurisdiction. Following this, the AP government had stopped construction of the barrage near Neradi village. However, it continued construction of the reservoir, side weir, and flood flow canal to utilise 8 tmcft of water allocated to it by the tribunal in its interim order in December 2013.
Simultaneously, the State government pursued the matter in the tribunal and finally won a favourable verdict that allowed the construction of Neradi barrage. The tribunal also asked both the States to utilise its benefits. A joint inspection committee would be constituted to oversee the works.