September 16 will go down as a historic day for Andhra Pradesh as on 9 pm this day a 50-year-old dream of the people became a reality.
Vijayawada witnessed a remarkable sight as the waters of the Godavari River merged with the Krishna River, thus linking the two big rivers.
On Wednesday evening, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu performed puja in the city of Ibrahimpatnam, which is nearly 300km from Vijayawada and then exactly at 9 pm, he turned on a pump thus allowing the Godavari to flow into Krishna.
The CM commissioned the Pattiseema scheme, an irrigation project that will pump Godavari waters into a canal which is about 4 km away. From the canal, waters will flow nearly 174 km to meet the Krishna river.
State’s irrigation minister Devineni Uma Maheswar credited Naidu for this feat and said:
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“Many great people thought of linking these rivers for so many decades. Chandrababu Naidu’s vision for the future has made this possible,”
The water will be stored at Prakasam Barrage in Vijayawada area and then diverted to irrigate paddy crop on several lakh acres in the Krishna, which flows through West and East Godavari districts.
It will also help provide drinking water to towns and cities in the area and especially help the parched regions of Anantpur, Kurnool and Kadapa districts, which wall the Rayalaseema region.
According to NDTV, former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had initiated the scheme to link rivers and had even criticised the Congress-led regimes for “ignoring” the project that was so important to the state of Andhra Pradesh.
The Pattiseema scheme now connects four major rivers in Andhra Pradesh to one another: Godavari-Krishna, Krishna-Pennar and Pennar-Tungabhadra.
Incidentally, Andhra Pradesh has become the only state with four of these rivers interconnected. The next in the pipeline under the national project is the interlinking of Ken (Madhya Pradesh) and Betwa (Uttar Pradesh) rivers.
But such a project is not without its costs. Environmentalists believe that interlinking of rivers is a disaster in making. Mixing in river waters might also adversely affect aquatic life. The TOI reports that the new canal will abnormally raise the water table causing damage to crops.