Probe remarks of 15th FC on Telangana government: Mohammed Ali Shabbir

Mohammed Ali Shabbir
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Mohammed Ali Shabbir

Highlights

  • Finance Commission observations on irregularities vindicates Congress stand
  • Average cost of farming through Kaleshwaram comes to nearly Rs 73,000 per acre
  • But, a farmer earns about Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per acre only
  • State incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 per acre every season
  • TRS govt went ahead with project, rejecting advice of oppn and experts

Hyderabad: Former Minister and ex-Leader of Opposition in Telangana Legislative Council Mohammed Ali Shabbir demanded a high-level probe into the observations made by 15th Finance Commission on Telangana Government in its report submitted in the Parliament last week.

Addressing a press conference at Gandhi Bhavan on Tuesday, Shabbir Ali said that the Finance Commission exposed several instances of financial irregularities committed by the TRS government. "The 15th FC made serious comments on many issues, including the Kaleshwaram Project. It vindicated the stand of Congress party that Kaleshwaram Project was not financially viable and it would not benefit the farmers," he said.

The 15th FC has observed that, "At an estimated cost of Rs 80,000 crore, the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project aims to serve over 18 lakh acres of farmland. Lift irrigation invariably notches up a massive electricity bill, bringing to question the financial viability of the project in the absence of a guaranteed revenue stream." It has also directed the Telangana government to "generate adequate revenue (say, through user charges) to at least cover the operations and maintenance cost of the project."

Shabbir Ali said that the Finance Commission also observed that the "huge investments made in irrigation have not yet resulted in commensurate returns in terms of crop yield improvements." He said these observations clearly show that the TRS government took up those projects and escalated their costs only to benefit the contractors. The Central government should order a probe to ascertain as to why thousands of crores of public money was wasted and who gained from it. Further, he said that the TRS government should explain as to why it did not follow the norms set by the Central Water Commission in executing those projects which could have saved several thousand crores.

He said that the TRS government has burdened the common people through wasteful expenditure on Kaleshwaram Project. He said the average cost of farming through Kaleshwaram Project comes to nearly Rs 73,000 per acre while a farmer earns about Rs 35,000 to Rs 40,000 per acre. Therefore, the State government incurs a loss of about Rs 30,000 per acre if it utilises the Kaleshwaram Project for cultivation. These are recurring losses which the State government needs to bear every season. TRS government went ahead with the project by rejecting the advice given by opposition parties and experts. Now the same mistake has been officially pointed out by the 15th Finance Commission, he said.

Make first SFC report public.

After the creation of the new State, the First SFC was constituted in 2015. However, its report is yet to be submitted. He alleged that the SFC was deliberately avoided by the Chief Minister as it would have stopped fudging of budget figures. CM KCR created a false illusion of growth and resorted to indiscriminate borrowings so that the TRS leaders could get huge commissions from contractors of various projects.

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