The State Cabinet has given nod to the Rs 2864 crore project to bring water from Kanhan River to Totladoh dam through a tunnel. The ambitious project is expected to end the water scarcity in the Nagpur district and also increase the area under irrigation.
Water scarcity has increased after the construction of Chaurai dam in Madhya Pradesh. The flow of water to Totladoh has reduced, necessitating a great need to find alternate sources to recharge the dam.
With this project the government is planning to bring 10 TMC water from Kanhan riverto Totladoh reservoir through tunnel. Cabinet approved the proposal, which will cost Rs 2,864 crore to State government exchequer, in a meeting convened in Mumbai in the presence of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis.
This decision is a boon for the farmers of Nagpur and Bhandara districts, and the problem of drinking water in Nagpur city is likely to be solved permanently. This project will be completed within five years and one lakh hectare land will be irrigated. A hydroelectric power project will be set up at Totladoh which will be generating an additional 95 million units of electricity.
The tunnel will be constructed at Kanhan river near Lohhoghari village in Madhya Pradesh by the Water Resources Department. It would be 62-km long. Jambghat project near Nagpur, which has become economically unviable because of requirement of huge forest land, would be turned into a bund near Lohagogari village and would be used to divert water from the Kanhan River into Toltaloh dam. The length of the tunnel will be 62 km while its diameter would be 6.9 meters. 12.26 hectares land will be required for this purpose.
To ensure that sufficient fund is provided to the project for its early completion Rs 586 crore would be provided in 2019-20, Rs 575 crores in 2020-21, Rs 574 crores in 2021-22, Rs 574 crores in 2022-23 and Rs 554 crores in 2023-24.
Guardian Minister Chandrashekhar Bawankule and the MLAs from these areas had been demanding this for a long time. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari had taken cognizance of the issue.
In 2016-17, Madhya Pradesh completed the construction of Chaurai dam as a result of which the water level in the Totladoh dam on the Pench River decreased. Since then, farmers of Nagpur and Bhandara districts were not getting sufficient water and Nagpur city too was facing an acute drinking water shortage.
The quota of water available to Maharashtra from Chaurai dam was decreased by 614 TMC and it further added to the water woes. As per the inter-state water use agreement executed in 1964 about water-sharing, Maharashtra should have got 1840 TMC water in the last 40 years. But it got only 1294 TMC. From the last 25 years till the construction of Chaurai dam, all the water stored in the Tatladoh dam in Nagpur district was being used. Hence, there was plenty of water available for the water supply scheme and irrigation.
Since the Chaurai dam was built in Madhya Pradesh, only 27 TMC water from 42.7 TMC was available at Tatladoh of Maharashtra. According to the recommendations of the Committee constituted on October 25, 2016 to overcome this problem, Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis ordered to take measures to overcome the severe water scarcity situation from short and long term perspective.
As per the government’s decision of last 30 May 2019, after completion of the works of sanctioned schemes, the deficit of 118 TMC is expected to be filled. Considering the increase in the population of Nagpur city by 2025, demand of drinking water is expected to be 250 to 300 TMC. Therefore, even after completion of sanctioned measures, it was difficult for the Municipal Corporation to fulfill the drinking water requirement and irrigate 1.4 lakh Hectare in Nagpur district.
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