06/01/2022 By RuneLite
Finance Commission’s flip-flop on Kaleshwaram baffles TRS, delights critics
DECCAN CHRONICLE. | L VENKAT RAM REDDY
Feb 4, 2021, 4:29 am IST
Feb 4, 2021, 4:29 am IST
The 15th Finance Commission questioned the financial viability of Kaleshwaram project, being taken up at a cost of more than Rs 80,000 crore
The report went on to argue that the state’s “huge investments made in irrigation, have not yet resulted in commensurate returns” in terms of crop yield improvements. (Representational Photo:DC)
Hyderabad: The Fifteenth Finance Commission’s remarks on the K. Chandrashekar Rao-led TRS government’s flagship project, Kaleshwaram, in its report tabled in Parliament on February 1 has not gone down well with the state government.
The state government has found the commission’s stand on Kaleshwaram to be “very strange”. This is because members of the commission, who visited the Kaleshwaram project site on more than one occasion in the past, had heaped praises on the project, mostly between 2018 and 2020.
However, in its report, the Finance Commission “questioned the financial viability” of this project, being taken up at a cost of more than Rs 80,000 crore.
The FC report pointed out that this project “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 goes on to suggest to the Telangana state government that it “should try to generate adequate revenue” (like through user charges) to at least cover operations and maintenance cost of the project.
The report went on to argue that the state’s “huge investments made in irrigation, have not yet resulted in commensurate returns” in terms of crop yield improvements.
These remarks are incongruent to past observations of the commission’s members and more aligned to the criticism of opposition parties, including senior BJP leaders, who are accusing the TRS government of “wasting huge public money” on Kaleshwaram to “get kickbacks from contractors”, instead of taking up this project for overall benefit of the state, or to empower and enrich the farmers.
In fact, the commission’s remarks on Kaleshwaram have come as a shot in the arm for opposition parties to attack the KCR-led TRS government.
The government heads in the state are reportedly angry at the commission’s remarks, who remind how the same commission members heaped praises on Kaleshwaram during their multiple visits to the project.
“The construction work of KLIS will be a role model for all other states in the country. Providing drinking and irrigation water to the people is a great job. So much work is taking place in a short span of time at Kaleshwaram,” said Arvind Mehta, secretary, finance commission, after visiting the project in February 2018.
Later, in February 2019, a six-member team of the commission visited Kaleshwaram and appreciated the quick-paced works being taken up by the state government. They opined that apart from providing a boost for irrigation, the project will also give a fillip to fisheries and tourism.
Tags: 15th finance commission report on kaleshwaram project, kaleshwaram project report, kcr, trs government’s flagship project
Location: India, Telangana, Hyderabad