Context: Recently, NGT ruled that the Environmental Clearance given to the project in December 2017 was void as the Telangana government subsequently changed the design of the project to increase its capacity.

More on the news:

  • Major changes in the project: 
    • The NGT has observed that the capacity was increased to pump 3 TMC water from 2 TMC, which was originally planned.
    • Also, major changes were made in the project due to which large tracts of forest land and other land were taken over and massive infrastructure was built causing adverse impact on the environment.
  • Directions to set up an Expert Committee
    • The NGT has directed the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change to constitute a seven-member Expert Committee to assess the extent of damage caused in going ahead with the project’s expansion and identify the restoration measures necessary. 
    • The Expert Committee will complete its exercise within six months.
  • The NGT has also directed the Telangana Government to stop all work except the drinking water component and obtain a Forest Clearance from the Centre before going ahead with the project.

Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project

  • It is a multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Kaleshwaram, Bhoopalpally, Telangana.
    • Lift irrigation is a method of irrigation in which water instead of being transported by natural flow (as in gravity-fed canal systems) requires external energy through the animal, fuel-based or electric power using pumps or other mechanical means.
  • Currently the world's largest multi-stage lift irrigation project, its farthest upstream influence is at the confluence of the Pranhita and Godavari rivers.
  • It is designed to provide water for irrigation and drinking purposes to about 45 lakh acres in 20 of the 31 districts in Telangana, apart from Hyderabad and Secunderabad.
  • Dimensions
    • The total length of the entire Kaleshwaram project is approximately 1,832 km of which 1,531 km is gravity canals and 203 km comprises water tunnels. 
    • There are 20 water lifts and 19 pump houses in the project. 
  • The project has set many records with the world’s longest water tunnels, aqueducts, underground surge pools, and biggest pumps.
  • Except for a few stretches involving pipelines and canals, much of the project is complete. The project was inaugurated on June 21 last year. 

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