Jalayagnam', as the word speaks is a ritual for water utilisation. It has been implemented by Hon. Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy as a election promise to the cultivating people of state to bring 73 lakh acres under irrigation in five years. This project accords the highest priority for the development of irrigation infrastructure, particularly in backward and drought prone areas by taking up this program in a big way. Jalayagnam includes a number of irrigation projects by construction of reservoirs and lift irrigation systems for lifting water from major rivers, particularly from Godavari to provide immediate irrigation benefits.
Jalayagnam programme to complete 30 major and 18 medium irrigation projects at a cost of Rs. 46,000 crores to provides irrigation to an extent of 73 lakh acres besides stabilization of an existing ayacut of 21.32 lakh acres while providing drinking water to a population of 1.2 crore and generating power to the tune of 1700 MW. Eight of these projects were to be completed before the kharif season of 2006.The irrigation development was almost stagnant for the last decade and the previous governments were more concentrating on hi-tech and neglecting agriculture sector on which approximately 70% of the population depends.
The fact that 26% of the population, mostly in rural areas, was living below the poverty line made him think whether science and technology had made a significant difference to the quality of life in rural areas compared to towns and cities. Also the suicides of many farmers from the state made Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy to give more significance and concentrate on the irrigation sector. Having recognized the importance of the agricultural sector for faster economic development, Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy started concentrating largely on its development and introduced several schemes for the benefit of the farmers among which is Jalayagnam project.
In the past 50 years, a total ayacut of 65 lakh acres was developed in the State. Jalayagnam, is expected to double the area under irrigation. Jalayagnam in Andhra Pradesh would constitute a major component of the Central government programme National Irrigation Mission's (NIM) target of bringing one crore hectares of land (2.5 crore acres) in the country under the plough.
The large allocation of funds for irrigation as the government considers irrigation an important growth engine. The most expensive of the projects are the lift irrigation projects intended to irrigate the dry Telangana region and supply water to the Anantapur-Ongole-Mehaboobnagar area which is "turning into a desert". With the land level being 300 metre above the water level, lift irrigation is supposed to be the only way out to take water to the dry region. Currently, 3,000 tmc water from Godavari is wasted into the sea as the land is at a higher elevation.
For the first time in the post-independence era, the Congress government took up linking of Godavari and Krishna by constructing Indira Sagar Project(Polavaram) across River Godavari.By executing projects like Rajiv Sagar, Indira Sagar flood flow canal, SRSP Phase-II and so on, 21 lakh acres of parched land in Telangana region would be made fertile.
All of Telugu people's prayers are with Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhar Reddy to make this project a huge success.
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