HYDERABAD: The State government on Friday urged the Central government to accord national project status to Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS).
Principal Secretary, Finance K Ramakrishna Rao made the request in a pre-Budget meeting held by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Delhi.
Since Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao was busy with the inauguration of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme (KLIS), Ramakrishna Rao represented him in the meeting. He read out a speech written by Chandrasekhar Rao.
“The State government took up KLIS with an estimated cost of Rs 88,000 crore. Additional funds are required to complete the project. The cost of the project has been met mostly from borrowings. As the debt servicing burden is huge, we have requested the Government of India to declare it as a national project and fund the entire cost of the project. The request of the State may be considered and adequate provision be made in the Union Budget 2019-20,” Rama Krishna Rao requested the Centre.
Ramakrishna Rao also requested for special assistance for Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya, for which the Niti Aayog has recommended financial assistance of Rs 5,000 crore and Rs 19,205 crore in 2016, respectively, the Finance secretary said.
At the meeting, the senior bureaucrat also spoke on the support the Centre needs to provide for the development of backward districts, as mandated in the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
Nine districts are getting Rs 50 crore each per annum. “As the then nine, out of ten backward districts, have been reorganised into 32, the package may be extended to all 32 districts,” he said.
Ramakrishna Rao requested for the need to establish an integrated steel plant in the State, as assured in the Reorganisation Act. Despite numerous meetings of the Task Force set up by the Ministry of Steel, it has been kept pending, he added.
Talking about the slow down of the country’s economy, he said, “The challenge is to revive the growth momentum by promoting investment both in the public and private sectors and to create an enabling environment. Greater involvement of the States is necessary as economic activity needed for promoting growth lies in the States’ domain,” he said.
The State government also made several suggestions to the Centre at the meeting. Ramakrishna Rao asked for reforms in the public-private partnership model as it could help in bridging the country’s infrastructure gap.
He then spoke on the need to use surface water for irrigation. “Exploitation of the surface water can be expedited through the settlement of river water disputes and through adequate assistance from the Centre,” he said.