FGG demands white paper on Kaleshwaram
- It says Governor should ask govt to account for every Respent
Hyderabad: Alleging lack of transparency, accountability and abnormal cost escalation in the Kaleshwaram Project, the Forum for Good Governance (FGG) has urged Governor Dr Tamilisai Soundararajan to seek a white paper on the project from the government.
FGG Secretary M Padmanabha Reddy said that the Pranahita Chevella project was given approval through a GO 124 dated May 16, 2007 with an outlay of Rs 17,875 crore to provide irrigation to 12.2 lakh acres with water availability of 160 tmcft.
Subsequently, it was felt that additionally some more areas need irrigation water and the target was increased to 16.4 lakh acres and the cost increased disproportionately to Rs 40,300 crore. The per acre cost of the project has also increased from Rs 1.46 lakh to Rs 2.45 lakh.
Padmanabha Reddy said that after the formation of Telangana the project took many twists and turns. In the name of re-designing, the project was changed and given the new name of Kaleshwaram project with an outlay of Rs 80,190 crore and the proposed ayacut was 18,25,700 acres. The money spent so far was Rs 61,740 crore and the area brought under cultivation is nil, said Padmanabha Reddy.
The FGG Secretary said that for maintenance of lifts and power bills there would be a recurring cost which would be anything up to Rs 10,000 per acre per annum. There is a proposal to add one more lift to increase the water availability costing about Rs 30,000 and this would take the cost to Rs 1.1 lakh crores.
The FGG secretary said that they were not against the project, but their objection was to regular cost escalation. "Irrigation department is known for maintaining outmost secrecy in expenditure and overnight increase of estimates. Every pie spent on Kaleshwaram project is taxpayers' money and as such people have a right to know as to what is happening. Lack of transparency is giving scope for suspicion," said Padmanabha Reddy. He said that the project is becoming boon to politicians, engineers and contractors.
The FGG secretary said that the project cost now is Rs 80,190 crore and likely to increase to Rs 1.1 lakh crore. There is no end in sight to this project. About 10,000 acres of forest land were diverted to the project and 15,000 people lost land for the project, said Padmanabha Reddy. He wanted the Governor to call for a white paper from the government.
CASH COW FOR POLITICOS?
♦ The money spent so far was Rs 61,740 crore and the area brought under cultivation is nil, criticises Forum for Good Governance
♦ Its Secretary Padmanabha Reddy points to steep escalation of project cost without any justification
♦ Project cost now is Rs 80,190 crore as against original Rs 17,875 crore. It is likely to increase to Rs 1.1 lakh crore
♦ There does not appear any end to cost escalation. Lack of transparency is giving scope for suspicion