Spending on irrigation cut by Rs. 1,500 crore
Major Irrigation Minister confirms reports suggesting shrinkage in the size of 2008-09 budgets
Works worth Rs. 9,000 cr. completed
Bills for another Rs. 2,000 cr. being prepared
Confirming the reports suggesting shrinkage in the size of the 2008-09 budget, Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah on Wednesday said that the expenditure in irrigation sector would be cut by Rs.1,500 crore.
He made it clear that the assessment made afresh, indicated that the spending would not exceed Rs. 15,000 crore for the pending and on-going works listed till March 31, 2009, as against Rs.16,500 crore projected earlier.
The Minister, however, blamed “lack of speed” in executing works as the reason for the poor spending rather than non-availability of funds.
The Minister told reporters that by November-end, works worth Rs. 9,000 crore had been completed in irrigation sector including those under Jalayagnam. Out of the amount spent till that time, Rs. 500 crore had gone towards land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced families. Bills were under preparation for clearing another Rs. 2,000 crore.
He said the State was trying to get as much aid as possible from the Union government under Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) and other Central schemes like Bharat Nirmam to implement Jalayagnam. About Rs. 2,000 crore was obtained in the past four years under AIBP. Mr. Lakshmaiah said the government was making serious efforts to get both Polavaram and Pranahita-Chevella mega irrigation projects declared as national projects and get Central funds to the tune of 90 per cent of the project cost. In this connection, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy would meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Delhi on January 6 or 7. He said the stand taken by Orissa and Chhattisgarh against Polavaram project clashed with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal Award. The A.P. government would provide adequate compensation to both States against their lands likely to be submerged under the reservoir or construct a protection wall as specified in the award.
YSR coming on January 4
Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy will take part in different official programmes in Madhira Assembly constituency on January 4, according to Vanama Venkateswar Rao, Minister for Vaidya Vidhana Parishad, and Mallu Bhatti Vikramarka, MLC.
Addressing a news conference here on Wednesday, they said that the Chief Minister would lay the foundation stone for road over-bridges at Dendukuru, Bonakal and Errupalem.