Engineers asked to work on completion of ongoing projects and launch new ones right from June 2

Chief Minister-designate of Telangana K. Chandrasekhar Rao has promised over Rs. 1 lakh crore budget for the irrigation sector in the new State in tune with his commitment to create an ayacut of 10 lakh acres in each district.

At a five-hour long meeting with about a 100 irrigation engineers of Telangana -- past and present -- Mr. Rao said his priorities when he takes over as Chief Minister would be welfare, power and irrigation in that order. He asked the irrigation engineers to work on completion of ongoing projects and launch new ones right from June 2 when he assumes office. They should not worry about funds as he would mobilise them tapping all possible sources.

He said the TRS government would give top priority to Palamuru–Ranga Reddy lift irrigation scheme which has the potential to create 10-lakh acre ayacut in Mahabubnagar, Ranga Reddy and Nalgonda districts. The Dindi lift irrigation scheme would be the next priority as it would solve the flourosis problem which is rampant in 17 mandals of Nalgonda district.

Mr. Rao asked the officials to prepare a report seeking a 3,300 MW captive thermal power plant for Pranahita–Chevella project for submission to the Central government. Similarly, the Palamuru–RR project could be submitted to the Prime Minister for sanction of funds.

He also sought revival of the golden age of minor irrigation in erstwhile Hyderabad State when 20 lakh acres was irrigated by 33,000 tanks but they have all disappeared now due to rapid urbanisation. The chain link of tanks existing then should be revived, he felt.

On a suggestion by Engineer-in-Chief (Administration) L. Narayan Reddy that the Irrigation Department is facing shortage of maintenance staff, particularly ‘lashkars,’ Mr. Rao promised to recruit them and also take up project-wise review.

ENC (Irrigation-Telangana) C. Muralidhar said 26 ongoing projects in the region could be completed in two years at a budget of Rs. 18,000 crore. Telangana retired engineers’ forum general secretary M. Shamprasad Reddy wanted July 11 be officially declared Telangana engineers’ day to commemorate the birth anniversary of Nawab Ali Nawaz Jung Bahadur, Chief Engineer in the Nizam’s government, who constructed the Nizamsagar project.