Overcoming the economic slowdown, the State government has introduced a budget of Rs 1.82 lakh crore which is a welcome move as the government is progressing defying oddities.The amount allocated for irrigation sector is also a welcome decision with limitations.
However, efforts should be made to make Kaleshwaram a National Project like Polavaram, so that the allocated funds can be used for other irrigation projects.
Meanwhile, more focus should be on Krishna river-based projects. Because, Godavari is a perennial river, loans for construction of irrigation projects will be sanctioned by financial institutions as when sought, unlike for projects on Krishna river.
Irrigation budget got Rs 11,054 crore, however, this is not the final figure. In the last few years, the government has allocated Rs 10,000-15,000 crore budget and an additional loan of Rs 10,000 crore from banks or the Central government.
I feel there is a need to complete Krishna river projects such as Dindi, SLBC Tunnel Scheme, Bheema, Palamuru-Ranga Reddy, Kalwakurthy, Nettempadu. After Mission Bhagiratha, fluoride parts per million (PPM) value was reduced to below 5 ppm in some villages at various parts of the State.
However, it should be brought down to a safer level i.e 0.5 to 1.5 ppm. Unless Dindi project is completed, it is not possible. The government should also clear the pending bills for Rehabilitation and Resettlement of land oustees to encourage farmers who sacrificed lands for irrigation projects at the earliest.
(The writer is general secretary of TS Retired Engineers Association)