The story of Palamuru was one of parched lands and a scramble for water for decades. Before the reorganization of revenue units following State formation, Mahabubnagar was the largest district in the State.
Endowed with fertile soils, the district has more than 35 lakh acres of cultivable land. Krishna, one of the major rivers of India, is flowing by. Many of its tributaries—Tungabhadra, Bhima and Dundhubi traversing across the district added to its irrigation potential.
But the never ending spectre of drought and scarcity conditions reduced it to one of the nine most backward districts notified in the country. The ground reality, which was quite appalling, triggered a mass exodus. More than half of the 40 lakh population deserted homes in search of fresh meadows.
Successive governments in the undivided State made lavish promises to revive the fortunes of Palamuru. But the rulers were found to be low on delivery. All the assurances made by them turned out to be mere lip service.
The real transformation of Palamuru began only with the self rule. Ever since Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao took over the reins of the State administration, he focused on the water-starved southern region and started addressing the needs of the region adopting a multi-pronged strategy.
The Palamuru Ranga Reddy Lift Irrigation Scheme (PRLIS) is now holding out hope to transform the very economic profile of the southern region of the State. Envious of his success, forces within the State and elsewhere remained bent upon scuttling the progress of works on the project, but the Chief Minister did not relent. Outwitting all such challenges that came in the way of implementation of the project, he moved ahead and the multi–stage lift irrigation scheme will be a reality soon.
With the drinking water component to be inaugurated by the Chief Minister on September 16 and the irrigation component of the project also to be fulfilled soon, over eight lakh acres will get irrigation. Over 84,000 acres of Achampet constituency, which will be benefitted with the construction of the Umamaheswara Lift Irrigation Scheme would be part of it.
The efforts by the Chief Minister in addressing the irrigation and drinking water need of the people in the region paid off in the form of Kalwakurthy project extending irrigation to 1.6 lakh acres. The Nettempadu and Bhima projects helped in giving water to 1.2 lakh acres and 1.4 lakh acres respectively.
The Koilsagar project could bring another 8000 acres under irrigation. The Chief Minister’s close monitoring of the works in progress facilitated completion of the ongoing works on the canal system and distributaries of the irrigation projects. On the whole, the erstwhile Mahabubnagar will have about 20 lakh acres with assured access to irrigation once PRLIS is completed.
The Palamuru region is known for its highest number of ponds that meet a major part of its irrigation needs. Many of the ponds and tanks had vanished in the undivided State. But now, the picture is changing. The Ganapasamudram pond in Kalwakurthi that was built by the Kakatiyas was filled to the brim after 30 years. The ponds and tanks have an irrigation potential of over 2.7 lakh acres. Before the division of the State, hardly 50,000 acres used to get water from these.