On 7 August 2016, Prime Minister Modi launched the Rs 42,000 crore piped drinking water project – ‘Mission Bhagiratha’, at Komatibanda village of Gajwel constituency, which is part of Medak district in Telangana. A dream project of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, the ambitious piped drinking water supply project will cater to the drinking water needs of 67,000 urban households and 25,000 rural households in the Gajwel assembly constituency. The Prime Minister also laid foundation stone for the 152 km Kothapalli-Manoharabad railway line that will connect Hyderabad with Karimnagar, thus fulfilling a major demand of the local people in the region. PM also laid the foundation stone for NTPC’s Telangana Super Thermal Power Project Stage 1 – 2×800 MW, and initiated the revival of the Ramagundam Fertilizer Plant in district Karimnagar. Giving a boost to medical infrastructure in the state, PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the Kaloji Narayana Rao University of Health Sciences in Warangal. Speaking on his maiden visit after Telangana was formed in 2014, PM Modi was all praise for the KCR-led government when he spoke of the state government’s achievements in the last two years. This massive drinking water supply project was desperately needed for a state that has been a victim of erratic monsoon and poor infrastructure in harnessing rainwater. Mission Bhagiratha is slated to be completed in 2018, by when a large part of the state will be get not just piped drinking water but also water to meet the industrial and agricultural needs. The youngest state in India is blessed with two perennial rivers – Godavari and Krishna. The state however, has suffered from erratic monsoons that has resulted in drought-like situations in large parts of the state. Compounding the problem, around 973 villages have been dealing with contaminated ground water due to presence of high fluoride content. As a result, people have suffered from resulting diseases like fluorosis.
Highlights of Mission Bhagiratha
- Interlinking Krishna and Godavari rivers with reservoirs in the state to collect, conserve and supply much needed water to the state
- Total water pipeline length: 1,30,000 km – covering 26 internal grids, 62 intermediate pumping stations, 16 intake wells, 110 water treatment plants and 37,573 Overhead Service Reservoirs
- Total cost: Rs 42,000 crore
- Year of completion: 2018
- Based on detailed topography analysis, water to be pumped using gravity and minimal electricity (182 MW)
- Piped drinking water supply to : 67,000 urban households in Gajwel constituency at the rate of 150 liters per day per household, in areas under Municipal Corporations
- Piped drinking water supply to: 25,000 rural households at the rate of 100 litres per day per household
- Project water allocated for industrial use: 10%
- Women in villages empowered to oversee allocation and distribution of water in villages and collection of taxes
- Water drawn from Godavari river: 19.62 thousand million cubic feet (TMC)
- Water drawn from Krishna river: 19.65 thousand million cubic feet (TMC)
Optical Fibre Network integrated with Mission Bhagiratha
In a path breaking move that will revolutionize information technology in the state, Telangana is all set to implement the largest optical fibre based broadband network in India. The plan is to install optical fibre pipelines using the extensive water pipeline network being laid under Mission Bhagiratha. This will save the state a large amount of funds that would have been needed to install a separate OFC network. Once completed, low cost high speed data and video can be offered across the state where ever the water pipeline is laid. This will give a significant boost to e-governance, e-health services and e-education initiatives in Telangana. Other states like Bihar, West Bengal, U.P and M.P have taken inspiration from the project and are now planning to replicate the model in their respective states.
KCR replicates his earlier success
If there is one politician that can claim bragging rights over macro water management and distribution methods, it is CM K Chandrasekhar Rao. It was way back in 1996, when as a young MLA, KCR planned and implemented a Rs 60 crore piped drinking water project in the water starved area of Siddipet. Under this project, water was drawn from Lower Mane Dam and supplied to all households covering 180 villages. Two decades later, the project is continuing to operate successfully and it was this success that inspired KCR to launch his most ambitious project yet – Mission Bhagiratha. While his first two years in office were rather low profile, with this project, KCR is all set to cement his place as the tallest leader in Telangana politics. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu will always be remembered as the man who ushered in the IT revolution in Hyderabad, but with this project, CM K Chandrasekhar Rao will rise to equal stature and beyond. His dual strategy of developing water distribution along with IT network in the state, is a brilliant move not just technically, but politically as well. PM Modi realizes that KCR is here to stay and is getting stronger by the day. With the third front a potential threat, BJP needs a supportive KCR on its side and is willing to go the distance to ensure that he remains politically friendly, if not directly aligned. No wonder he was all praise for the CM and his administration for initiatives launched in the last two years. This seems to be an association that is still work in progress.