HYDERABAD: Alleging that the previous Congress governments in the state ruined the irrigation sector for bribes and commissions, Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu said he will soon prioritise all the ongoing irrigation projects across the state based on their capacity to cater to the irrigation needs of drought-prone areas.
The chief minister also made it clear that he would give top priority to lift irrigation projects like the Handri Neeva and Thotapally reservoir, which address the irrigation needs of backward districts of Anantapur and Vizianagaram respectively.
As a part of his efforts to release white papers on the situation of each key sector in the state, Naidu on Monday came out with a white paper on the irrigation sector. Speaking on the occasion, the Andhra Pradesh chief minister said the government will rework the ongoing irrigation projects and reorganise its priorities to provide water to backward districts. “The government will try to construct irrigation projects similar to the Polavaram project to utilise river water which flow into the state from upper riparian states,” Naidu said and added that stress will be laid on ground water conservation and restoration.
Rain water harvesting will be given a boost. The government will encourage drip irrigation and other water preservation methods, the chief minister said. Naidu also promised to complete all important projects in a phased and timely manner.
Ruined Irrigation for Kickbacks
Naidu said the previous Congress government in the state had spent a whopping `90,500 crore in the past ten years for construction of irrigation projects but not even a single project was completed.
“The Congress started construction of various projects without prioritising them only for the sake of bribes and commissions,” the chief minister alleged.
Naidu said the previous regimes had failed to get various clearances and also could not acquire required land for the projects but mobilisation advances were paid to the contractors. “Even the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), in its audit, passed strictures on the government’s improper planning,” he thundered.
According to the chief minister, several infrastructure companies had now gone bankrupt due to the ‘greediness’ of the previous Congress governments and added that the state would face a power related negative impact if simultaneous efforts were not made towards enhancement of power production and efficient water management as the operation cost of several lift irrigation projects was high. “The lack of effective participation of water users, poor irrigation and water management practices have resulted in the increase of gap ayacut in the commands of the existing projects,” Naidu opined.
■ Reorganise priorities to cater to needs of backward districts
■ Stress on ground water conservation and restoration
■ Conservation methods to be taken up in systematic manner
■ Government will encourage drip irrigation
■ Subsidy for farmers using drip irrigation
■ Priority for small lift irrigation schemes
■ Practicing modern water management
■ Mission mode approach to implement micro irrigation
■ Horticulture and floriculture will be encouraged
‘Polavaram to be Completed on Time’
Naidu made it clear that the Polavaram Project will be completed well within schedule. The government will try to construct irrigation projects similar to the Polavaram project to utilise the river waters which will flow into the state from upper riparian States, he added.