FGG writes to Governor on Kaleshwaram project

Project is mired in lack of transparency and accountability, says FGG

The Forum for Good Governance (FGG) has observed that there is abnormal cost escalation and also lack of transparency and accountability in the execution of Kaleshwaram project and requested Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan to order for publication of a white paper on the project.

In a letter addressed to the Governor on Tuesday, secretary of FGG, a not for profit organisation working with an objective to secure good governance at all levels by providing a platform for all well-meaning, public-spirited citizens to come together, M. Padmanabha Reddy said although they were not against the project their objections was regular cost escalation.

“Irrigation Department is known for maintaining utmost secrecy in the expenditure on projects and overnight increase of estimates. Every pie spent on Kaleshwaram project is tax payers’ money and as such people have a right to know as to what is happening. Lack of transparency and accountability is giving scope for suspicion”, Mr. Padmanabha Reddy said in the letter written to the Governor.

He said stories were making rounds that though the Kaleshwaram project was a boon for people of Telangana it was also becoming a boon to politicians, engineers and contractors. The project which was conceived in 2005 with an estimated cost of ₹17,875 crore was today costing ₹80,190 crore and is likely to increase ₹1.1 lakh crore, he said adding that “there is no end in sight to this project”.

It was first conceived as Pranahita-Chevella project in July 2005 and after preparation of the detailed project report in May 2007 to irrigate 12.2 lakh acres, the per acre cost of irrigation was estimated at ₹1.46 lakh. It was planned to divert 160 tmc ft of Godavari (Pranahita) water to realise the irrigation potential. Later, the proposed ayacut was increased to 16.4 lakh acres and cost of the project was increased disproportionately to ₹40,300 crore with the per acre cost of irrigation going up to ₹2.45 lakh.

Subsequntly, after formation of Telangan the project took many twists and turns and in the name of re-engineering the project was changed as Kaleshwaram project. In a reply to an RTI application filed by FGG, the public information officer of the project stated on December 5 that the project cost as per DPR was ₹80,190.46 crore with proposed ayacut of 18,25,700 acres and the per acre cost of irrigation further went up to₹4.39 lakh.

The FGG secretary said although ₹61,740.56 crore was spent so far on the project, no new irrigation potential was created and the minor and sub-minor works are still under progress. About 10,000 acres of forest land has already been diverted for the project works and 15,000 families have also lost their land for it.

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