February 13, 2024 10:15 pm | Updated 10:16 pm IST – MEDIGADDA (Bhupalpally district)
Though the Kaleshwaram project was projected as the best thing to happen in Telangana by the previous BRS government, even the MLAs seldom had the opportunity to visit it with the project kept out of bounds for the Opposition MLAs and the media for long.
However, Tuesday was different with MLAs, officials and the media getting an opportunity to witness the project right from the pillars though the occasion was bit negative to see the damaged pillars. “All that glitters is not gold” is what the government tried to prove to the MLAs who were taken aback by the damage to the pillars within a few years of their construction. This was the first exposure to 90% of those visiting the site.
Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy, accompanied by several Cabinet colleagues, visited the Medigadda Barrage in the Bhupalpally district, expressing dismay over the visible extensive damage. Among those present were ministers Uttam Kumar Reddy, Ponnam Prabhakar, Jupally Krishna Rao, Tummala Nageswara Rao, along with MIM MLAs and MLCs, and CPI MLA Kunamneni Sambasiva Rao.
Arriving at the site by bus along with officials and representatives, they meticulously examined the significant cracks in Pier 20, illustrating the severity of the situation to the assembled legislators.
Highlighting the compromised state of the barrage, Minister Sridhar Babu underscored the ‘sacrifices’ made by the people of Bhupalpally and Peddpalli districts for the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project, expressing concern over its apparent lack of utility. Allegations of project mismanagement and irregularities were raised, prompting an inquiry by the Vigilance Department, and a sitting judge.
Minister Uttam Kumar Reddy criticized the BRS government for purportedly squandering ₹1 lakh crore on the project.
During interactions with the media, project incharge Chief Engineer Sudhakar Reddy disclosed that the project had only created a mere 98,570 acres of new ayacut despite a government expenditure of a whopping ₹93,872 crore. Chief Minister Revanth Reddy outlined the substantial annual expenditure of ₹10,500 crore on power charges for water lifting besides interest and loan repayment, anticipating a surge in the KLIP project cost to ₹1.47 lakh crore, potentially escalating to ₹2 lakh crore according to fresh estimates.
Concerns were also voiced regarding reported damages to the Annaram and Sundilla Barrages, with Vigilance Director Rajiv Rathan cautioning that seepage and leakage had been detected, posing a threat of collapse if water impoundment occurs.
CPI MLA Kunamneni Sambasiva Rao echoed apprehensions over the Medigadda Barrage’s condition and potential harm to the Annaram and Sundilla Barrages, stressing a stern action against the responsible as per the law. He lamented over the substantial setback to the people of Telangana.