Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said on Wednesday that the first phase of the Polavaram irrigation project would be completed by 2018 and the left canal works by this year-end. Laying the foundation-stone for the modernisation works at Gorrie Khandi drain near Pithapuram, Mr. Rao said that the Polavaram works would be speeded up from the next month and the Eleru modernisation works be undertaken simultaneously. Observing that there was a shortage of 14 TMC of water in Eleru reservoir, the Minister said that the modernisation works would help address the long-pending problem.
Collector H. Arun Kumar said that an extent of 425 acres had to be acquired for paving way to the Eleru modernisation works and efforts were on to complete the process at the earliest. He said that ex gratia would be paid as per the market rate and the farmers need not worry about the land acquisition. Pithapuram MLA S.V.S.N. Varma said that Eleru modernisation was the long-pending dream of people from Pithapuram and nearby areas. “Once the Rs. 170-crore works are completed, farmers under the ayacut will be able to cultivate two crops a year,” he said. Superintending Engineer of the Irrigation Department S. Sugunakara Rao and others were present.