White Paper says BRS Govt Left Irrigation Sector Crumbling

Hyderabad: The Telangana state government on Saturday declared that harsh punishment was in the offing for everyone, irrespective of their standing or stature, for their role in leading Telangana’s irrigation sector into a disastrous situation, and participating in this process. The announcement came in the Legislative Assembly from irrigation minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, who presented to the House a White Paper on the irrigation sector in Telangana.

What the then BRS government had done during its nearly ten-year rule of the state, Uttam Kumar Reddy said, left a “permanent curse on the people of Telangana” in the form of the Kaleshwaram project, and ad hoc approach to the irrigation sector that “saw the state pile up loans, bleed the treasury, and did little to nothing to augment irrigation to new ayacut.”
Uttam Kumar Reddy said the reckless spending by the BRS government on the irrigation sector on impractical projects, and allowing huge increases in project costs, resulted in the irrigation sector crumbling “due to the damage of the barrages and pumphouses constructed on Godavari River (referring to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme). The state’s economy was left in a precarious condition after the last government spent `1,81 lakh crore in the name of various irrigation projects.”
He said: “The state exchequer was completely destroyed with debt burden. The state will have to pay an insurmountable debt of `1.35 lakh crore in the next 10 years.”
Calling the BRS government’s irrigation policies “destructive,” Uttam Kumar Reddy said these have put “the state under great risk.”
“Before the formation of Telangana, in unified Andhra Pradesh, Rs 54,234 crore was spent, but all of this was from state funds. However, after the state's formation, of the Rs 1,87,067 crore spent on irrigation projects by the BRS government,Rs White Paper says BRS Govt Left Irrigation Sector Crumbling84,090 crore were loans,” Uttam Kumar Reddy said.
“Though enormous sums of money were spent on various projects, the commensurate or the promised ayacut increase did not happen. In unified Andhra Pradesh, projects taken up in Telangana region created 41.76 lakh acres of ayacut, and between 2014 and 2023, only 15.81 lakh acres of ayacut was created. And the target of the BRS government was to create 17.21 lakh acres of ayacut in 2023-24, but a mere 500 acres were added to the ayacut,” the minister said.
Even for KLIS, on which Rs 93,872 crore were spent, only 98,590 acres of ayacut was created. “Apart from building barrages, pumphouses and substations, there was no sincerity to provide water to farmers. The work done was without a plan to construct necessary distribution canals,” he said.
Uttam Kumar Reddy said: “By redesigning, as well as planning errors in new projects, the previous government neglected management of old projects, and as a result, survival of irrigation projects has become questionable. For instance, counterweights at gate no. 15 of the Kadem project was washed away and this forced the government to declare a crop holiday in 65,000 acres under the project for this year’s Yasangi crop season.”
Winding up the discussion, Uttam Kumar Reddy said the government will take suggestions from all parties for moving forward on solving the problems plaguing the irrigation sector and if need be, would lead an all-party delegation to the Centre towards this end.
He also said the government will take into consideration requests made by various MLAs about irrigation projects in their constituencies and take appropriate action. The government is committed to solving the problems in irrigation in the state and will move forward with transparency and accountability, he said.
As far as the Medigadda barrage is concerned, Uttam made it clear that there was no question of storing any water there as the barrage is in a precarious state.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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