Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has said the Telugu Desam government would work towards making Andhra Pradesh drought-proof by linking the rivers in the state and providing drinking water and irrigation water to all the regions.

He was speaking at a public meeting at Nakirekallu village in Guntur district on Monday, after laying the foundation stone for the first phase of works to link the Godavari with the Penna in the state.

He said the Godavari and the Krishna had already been linked by taking up the Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme, and now works had been launched to link the Godavari and the Penna at an estimated cost of of Rs 83,796 crore in five phases. The first phase would cost Rs 6,020.15 crore.

The Penna river flows through Anantapur, Kadapa, Kurnool, Chittoor and Nellore districts, but the water flow in the river is not sufficient to cater to the needs of the districts.

The Chief Minister said 65 per cent of the works on the mega Polavaram project on the Godavari had been completed and all efforts would be made to give water by gravitational flow by May 2019, and to complete the project by the end of the year. However, he regretted that the NDA government at the Centre was not lending a helping hand.

In the first phase, 8,500 cusecs of water from Pattiseema and 6,870 cusecs of water from Chintalapudi lift would be taken to Prakasam barrage on the Krishna at Vijayawada. From Prakasam barrage, 7,000 cusecs of water will be carried to the Nagarjuna Sagar right main canal in five phases by laying 10.25 km of pipeline from the Krishna river and gravity canal at a stretch of 56.35 km and using five lifts.

Godavari waters would be brought up to Nakirekallu, and a linkage would then be established with the Sagar right main canal, resulting in assured irrigation to over 9,61,000 acres in Guntur and Prakasam districts.