Not even one lakh acres irrigated by Kaleshwaram project: Telangana CM
Hyderabad, Feb 13 (IANS) Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy on Tuesday said that Kaleshwaram project was built at a cost of nearly Rs 1 lakh crore but it has not irrigated even one lakh acres.
He along with ministers, MLAs and MLCs visited Medigadda barrage, a part of kaleshwaram project, in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district on Tuesday.
They went around the barrage to see some of the piers which sank recently.
Legislators of main opposition Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stayed away from the visit though the Chief Minister had invited all the parties. Five MLAs of AIMIM and the lone MLA of CPI accompanied the Chief Minister and Congress MLAs.
After going around the barrage, they watched a powerpoint presentation by chief engineer (irrigation) Sudhakar Reddy.
In the powerpoint presentation, the chief engineer explained the estimate for construction of the project, actual expenditure, electricity bill, annual maintenance cost and the extent of land irrigated. He said the piers of the barrage sank on October 21, 2023.
The Chief Minister told media persons that the purpose of their visit is to inform people about the defects and loopholes in the Kaleshwaram project.
He termed as a lie the claim by the previous BRS government that the project irrigated one crore acres. He said the previous government spent Rs 94,000 crore to irrigate only 98,000 acre of land.
He said even if the project is completed at a cost of Rs 2 lakh crore, it would have the capacity to irrigate only 19.63 lakh acres.
The Chief Minister said that Kaleshwaram’s annual electricity bill is Rs 10,500 crore. If project loans and other expenses are taken into consideration, every year Rs 25,000 crore are being spent on the project.
The Chief Minister alleged that the BRS government wasted crores of rupees of public money for publicity to derive political mileage.
He said even after the National Dam Safety Authority team’s visit to Medigadda barrage and its report that there were deficiencies in its construction, the then BRS government did not take up restoration work to fix the problem.
Revanth Reddy said then chief minister KCR tried to hide sinking of piers and recalled that after getting permission from the Election Commission, he along with Rahul Gandhi had visited the barrage.
After Congress came to power, irrigation minister Uttam Kumar Reddy ordered a probe into irregularities. The Vigilance and Enforcement Department has found glaring deficiencies in construction of the project. He alleged that in the name of re-designing there was huge corruption in the project.
Revanth Reddy alleged that, scared of being exposed, KCR tried to divert public attention by holding a public meeting at Nalgonda.
Stating that the government will present white paper on irrigation projects in the Assembly, he demanded that KCR come to the Assembly and participate in the debate. He remarked that KCR never stepped out for the sake of people and even now he has come out to get votes in Lok Sabha elections.
The Chief Minister slammed KCR for calling the sinking of piers a small issue. “It is not the Kaleshwaram project which sank, it was the people’s confidence,” he said.
“Investigations are on against those who indulged in irregularities. If necessary, we will recover the money by invoking the Revenue Recovery Act,” he said.
On BJP state president G. Kishan Reddy’s demand that the state government should seek CBI probe into corruption in Kaleshwaram, Revanth Reddy alleged that the BJP wants to shield KCR. He said the Congress was for a probe by a sitting judge.
Revanth Reddy also found fault with the BJP MLAs for not coming to Medigadda visit.
The Chief Minister said a decision on restoration work at Medigadda will be taken after consulting experts.