Special Correspondent

Chief Minister asks officials to secure Rs. 4,000-crore Central grant

HYDERABAD: Eight major and four medium irrigation projects are being added to the list for securing Central grants under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP). The projects are Gundlakamma, Thotapalli, Sriramsagar Flood Flow Canal, Swarnamukhi, Palemvagu, Taadipudi, Pushkaram, Bheema, Pulichintala and Koilsagar. Already nine projects are getting Central grants.

This decision was understood to have been taken at a review meeting of the irrigation projects by Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy with Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah and officials.

Dr. Reddy asked the officials to secure Rs. 4,000 crores as Central grant and loan under AIBP. He complimented them for obtaining Rs. 1,060 crore grants last year under AIBP as against Rs. 788 crores secured by the Telugu Desam regime.

Funds allocated

Official told him that they were striving to get Rs. 2,500 crores in place of the minimum amount of Rs. 1,500 crores for this year. In the first quarter this year, Rs. 900 crores was expected to be sanctioned and there was no shortage of funds. The Government had already allocated funds for works to be taken up during the next three years.

Dr. Reddy wanted officials to prepare a scheme for the works so as to continue them up to 2009-10. He told them to expedite the works of 16 projects so that water for 2007-08 kharif could be released. A plan on the works should be finalised within a week, he stressed.

He reviewed the works of 11 major and six medium irrigations projects which are expected to release water to 7.5 lakh acres this year and expressed satisfaction over the pace.

The Chief Minister favoured a uniform policy for the entire ayacut, particularly in the case of lift irrigation projects. For this purpose officials decided to organise a meeting to be chaired by Dr. Reddy, to be preceded by a State-level workshop.