Government seeks global consultation for Almatti project

Wants innovative solutions to minimise effects of increasing the dam height

The State government, for the first time ever, has sought international-level consultation for the Almatti dam project.

The Water Resources Department has invited global consultants for providing innovative engineering solutions to minimise the effects of submergence of land in backwaters due to raising the height of the dam from the present 519 to 524.2 metres.

The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal - 2, in its final award, had given its approval for Karnataka to raise the Almatti dam height, built across River Krishna in Bijapur district.

The increase in dam height will lead to submergence of an estimated 25,900 hectares of land spread across 22 villages in Bagalkot district, which will have to be rehabilitated and resettled.

At the same time, the increase in height will help in utilising an additional 130 TMC ft of water (as provided by the KWDT-2 award) and in turn, will help in irrigating additional 5.3 lakh hectares of land under Stage-III of the Upper Krishna Project (UKP).

Work on increasing the height of dam can be taken up only after the Union Ministry of Water Resources notifies the award.

However, the State government is keen on keeping the backroom preparations ready. The three stages of UKP cater to the drinking water, irrigation needs of Gulbarga, Bijapur, Raichur, Koppal and Gadag districts, besides generating hydel power.

An expensive affair

“Land acquisition has become an expensive affair. The new land acquisition bill has provision for providing four times the guidance value for the land that needs to be acquired. We propose that the land submerged due the backwaters be kept minimal. This way rehabilitation issues can also be settled faster,” Prof Aravind Galagali, director, technical sub-committee, Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited and resource person for the project, told Deccan Herald.

Evaluation of area

The selected consultant will have to study the extent of submergence, its effects in terms of land acquisition and rehabilitation of the submerging villages, and provide alternative solutions to minimise land submergence, Galagali said, and added that it was for the first time that such a consultation process has been mooted.

The consultant will also have to provide techno-economic feasibility of each solution, besides evaluating the cost benefit analysis of the alternatives, Galagali said.

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