Special Correspondent

Centre to make efforts to help Andhra Pradesh fill the financial gap

HYDERABAD: Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has offered help to Andhra Pradesh to fill the financial gap encountered by the State Government in implementing its ambitious programme of constructing a large number of irrigation projects.

He asked Major Irrigation Minister P. Lakshmaiah to depute a team to New Delhi to discuss this issue with the Department of Economic Affairs. Mr. Chidambaram made this offer in line with the AICC's resolution to go in for massive outlays for integrated irrigation-agriculture projects.

Earlier, he watched a presentation by Principal Secretary C. V. S. K. Sarma on the Congress Government's 'Jayagnam' to construct 30 irrigation projects in one go.

Speaking to the media later, Mr. Chidambaram said he was "impressed by the scale and size of the programme" and described it as "a splendid achievement" the allocation of Rs. 6,300 crores for irrigation and the expenditure of Rs. 3,600 crores this year.

He was informed that the budget required for Jalayagnam was so huge that there were immediate financial gaps.

"I reflected on this and decided to invite a State team to New Delhi. A way out will be found to fill the gap," he stated.

He said he would consider the Government's plea to relax rules of AIBP and FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility Management Bill) to allow loans to the State liberally.

Sagar modernisation

He said the proposals for the Rs. 3000-crore loan for modernisation of Nagarjunasagar ayacut would be forwarded to the World Bank shortly.

Asked about the State's plea for taking certain irrigation projects in the Telangana region such as Inchampalli as national projects, the Finance Minister said: "What was highlighted during the presentation was the proposal to link the Godavari, the Krishna and the Penna benefiting all regions of the State. Krishna and Penna have been fully utilised and the real surplus exists only in the case of the Godavari."

At the meeting, the State team highlighted that through the Jalayagnam programme Andhra Pradesh would account for 40 per cent of the Centre's Bharat Nirman.

Mr. Lakshmaiah said the revised requirement of Jalayagnam was Rs. 93,000 crores but the State Government's efforts to mobilise resources had yielded Rs. 46,000 crores so far.

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