This is very unfortunate that Telangana government have no funds to maintain dams and irrigation projects in the state. Despite spending lakhs of crores in welfare schemes for farmers and BCs, they even doesn’t have meagre funds to repair the dams and irrigation needs, which is a high- priority agenda in TRS manifesto.
Thousands of crores of rupees are being spent for construction of new irrigation projects in Telangana state but there are no funds for maintenance and repairs of existing projects. Worse still, there is no dedicated budget to maintain irrigation projects.
When on one side, paucity of funds is leading to non-repair of seepage and cracks in canals, on the other, poorly maintained and ageing dams are posing safety risks. The latest incident of collapse of Pulichintala project gate brought to fore the lapses in the maintenance of irrigation projects.
After the formation of Telangana in 2014, Chief Minister K. Chandrashekar Rao accorded top priority to the irrigation sector, which is getting highest allocations of nearly Rs 20,000 crore every year. This year, the sector got nearly Rs 17,000 crore. But all these funds are spent for construction of Kaleshwaram project at a cost of Rs 1 lakh crore, Palamuru Ranga Reddy project at a cost of Rs 60,000 crore and Sitarama project at Rs 14,000 crore.
In September 2020, the right canal gate of Nagarjunasagar broke which led to wastage of water for seven months until it was repaired. The project’s spillway was damaged due to worst-ever Krishna floods in 2009, the repair works of which were not completed totally even after 12 years due to lack of funds.
Musi project’s gate No.5 washed away in October 2019 resulting in wastage of 4.46 tmc ft of water. Sarala Sagar project in Wanaparthy breached in December 2019 which led to wastage of 0.45 tmc ft of water. Kadem project’s gate No.2 collapsed in September 2018 resulting in wastage of 5 tmc ft. The government incurred Rs 5 crore for repair works later.
The budgetary allocations are spent only to pay bills for contractors, land acquisitions and R&R packages, which are not sufficient resulting in the government owing huge arrears to contractors and others leaving no funds for maintenance and repairs of existing projects.
The state government is totally dependent on the Centre for funds for operation and maintenance. The state government has sought Rs 40,169 crore from 2021 to 2026 for maintenance of projects under various Central schemes, which are awaited.
On May 26 this year, the Chief Minister announced that the funds required for taking up maintenance works would be made available with the principal secretary of irrigation department shortly but did not materialize even after two months.
Officials have stopped maintenance works due to lack of funds for the past few years. This is leading to frequent incidents of seepage and cracks in canals, dams posing safety risks to all. #KhabarLive #hydnews