Telangana Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy has invited Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) president and former Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to visit Medigadda barrage, part of the much-publicised Kaleshwaram project, to explain the facts relating to the “man made wonder” as it was described by the previous Government.
The Chief Minister along with his Cabinet colleagues and MLAs left for a visit of Medigadda barrage on Tuesday. Explaining about the purpose of the visit in the legislative assembly this morning, the Chief Minister said the BRS was claiming that sinking and drift of six out of the 11 piers in the block-7 of the barrage was due to sand erosion and wondered how the Government proceeded with the construction of a rigid structure rather than a floating one as envisaged earlier.
“The previous Government deployed posse of police force, like the deployment on Wagah border, preventing people from visiting the barrage,” he said adding there were also reports that a section of officials hid the files pertaining to the project.
The Congress Government had therefore ordered a vigilance inquiry into the development and a comprehensive report was submitted to the Government on the barrage. Every member of the legislature had the responsibility to know about the facts and there was need for a debate in the House about the contents of the vigilance report. The Government had therefore decided to visit the barrage along with MLAs so that they could understand the ground realities.
“Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao should come to the House to explain the members about the wonder his Government has constructed at the expense of public money. The BRS president should explain to the people about how the Government could create a wonder akin to Taj Mahal,” he said adding the people had the right to know the facts.
He also invited BRS MLA and former Irrigation Minister T. Harish Rao to visit the project recalling that a former Governor had called Mr. Harish Rao as “Kaleshwara Rao”. Mr. Revanth Reddy said the Government was prepared to arrange a chopper if the BRS president was did not feel comfortable in travelling by bus.
He said the Government would release a white paper on irrigation projects in the assembly in a day or two as the Government was keen on laying bare the facts about Kaleshwaram project, the project which could not provide water to 97,000 acres after spending Rs. 97,000 crore.
Mr. Revanth Reddy wondered as to why Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao, who claimed that he supervised the project from design preparation to construction, remained silent months after the severe damages were reported to the Medigadda barrage. The National Dam Safety Authority which inspected the project site announced that the barrage needed to be reconstructed as mere repairs would not suffice the purpose.
It was in this backdrop, the Government had organised a visit of MLAs including Mr. Chandrasekhar Rao and his party members to the site but the BRS and its “tacit allies” BJP legislators stayed away from the visit, he said adding that though Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself claimed that Kaleshwaram project had turned into an ATM for the BRS, the BJP MLAs were not keen to see that facts on the ground.
The Chief Minister said the visit of Medigadda would reveal the manner in which Irrigation sector was destroyed during the close to 10-year rule of the BRS. He recalled how the Congress Government of erstwhile united Andhra Pradesh invited tenders for Pranahita Chevella project in 2008 with an estimated Rs. 38,500 crore. The BRS Government however escalated the project cost to Rs. 1.47 lakh crore in the name of project redesign.