DC Edit | KCR in hot water: CAG nails graft by BRS govt

Even as the people of Telangana, and India, are trying to fully comprehend the fullest extent of the corruption of the previous Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in the last decade over two terms, a simple way of summation of all data and its scathing condemnation of various decisions and actions of former chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao is to say that Telangana suffered one of the most corrupt governments ever in Independent India.

One of the biggest flagship schemes of the BRS led by then-CM K. Chandrashekar Rao was a multi-purpose Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KILS) project, which alone would qualify as one of India’s biggest failures, and was the greatest of corrupt endeavours by any government. The entire project was a rushed affair, totally botched up with ill intent and wilful carelessness, with the BRS government, and in particular the irrigation department, cutting corners on quality and the following of technical expertise, inflating costs, skipping comprehensive plans for sourcing funds and flouting a plethora of norms, as the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s damning report has recently made clear.

Several components of the project were approved and handed to contractors even before detailed project reports (DPR) were finalised, the CAG audit found. The CAG report, which took into consideration the project execution till 2022, also concluded that the final cost of Kaleshwaram will likely touch Rs 1,47,427 crores, against an original estimate of Rs 81,911 crores, as was projected to the Central Water Commission. The CAG said the project was a “financial disaster”, with a “return” of just 52 paise for every rupee spent, and, therefore, the project was economically unviable ab initio.

The KIPCL, formed by the BRS government to bear the entire cost of the project, will require a total of Rs 1,41,544 crores for servicing debt incurred through various borrowings. The annual repayment amounts, beginning this year, will start from Rs 14,462 crores, which will gradually come down to Rs 712 crores in 2035-36.

The CAG report also noted that design deviations and flaws in construction of the Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla barrages, which are all now leaking and cracking, and might be of no use at all.

Understandably, the Congress Party which won the recent Assembly elections in the state, has gone to town because it had won the polls exposing the BRS corruption. Interestingly, the BRS government did not even allow the tabling of the CAG report till it was in power, and also resorted to not uploading most of the government orders (GOs) online as was the norm prior to Mr Rao taking charge as CM. The Telangana government now stares at a Rs 2,52,048 crores debt repayment, per the CAG report.

Congress leaders, led by chief minister A. Revanth Reddy, are already making it a political issue ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, crying “corruption worth thousands of crores, illegal activities and wastage of funds occurred under KCR’s rule. CAG report is proof of all misdeeds. KCR and ministers must answer”.

The BJP is demanding a CBI investigation while the state government wants a sitting or retired judge of the high court to lead a probe.

But one thing is certain — the most corrupt of state governments ever in India’s history should not go unpunished.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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