Nagesh Prabhu

Nigam was set up to expedite the UKP

  • Officials refute Congress leaders' remarks on closure
  • The Nigam has to borrow or raise resources for the UKP
  • BANGALORE: The Government will not wind up Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Ltd., a special purpose vehicle established to mobilise resources to fund irrigation projects in the Krishna basin, for at least another five years.

    Chief Secretary P.B. Mahishi has denied that there is a proposal to wind up the Nigam. "There is no proposal as of now before the Government to close KBJNL," he told The Hindu on Monday. The Government has not received a proposal from any department recommending closure, he said.

    Officials in the Water Resources Department said the Nigam had to execute additional schemes estimated at Rs. 6,000 crore to Rs. 7,000 crore in the 11th Five-Year Plan (2007-12).

    Responsibilities

    The Nigam was constituted in August 1994 under the Companies Act to expedite the Upper Krishna Project (UKP). The Nigam is entrusted with the responsibility of planning, investigation, estimation, execution and maintenance of UKP Stage I (Phase III) and Stage II.

    Stage I will be completed in two months while Stage II will be completed in one year. The Government has spent Rs. 5,613 crore on Stage I. The Nigam will execute six lift irrigation projects estimated at Rs. 6,000 crore in districts coming under the Krishna basin to utilise surplus Krishna waters under Scheme B of the Bachawat Award, officials said.

    The Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal has allocated 700 tmcft of water to the State under Scheme A, 560 tmcft to Maharashtra and 800 tmcft to Andhra Pradesh. Expenditure up to the end of March 2006 on the UKP (Stage I and Stage II) is Rs. 8,682.08 crore.

    The Nigam has been authorised to borrow or raise resources totalling Rs. 775 crore through shares, debentures and other securities in the 11th Five-Year Plan. It is expected to raise Rs. 215 crore in current financial year. The Nigam raised Rs. 270 crore in 2006-07. The State Government provides for interest payments to investors in bonds and debentures floated by the Nigam, according to an 11th Plan document.

    The Nigam, which was created by the Congress government led by M. Veerappa Moily, was entrusted with the construction of a series of barrages across the Bhima and the Manjra rivers. Four barrages across the Bhima have been completed and the fifth is nearing completion. It has also been entrusted with filling minor irrigation tanks in Bijapur and Bagalkot districts.

    `No truth'

    There was no truth in allegations by Congress leaders N. Dharam Singh and H.K. Patil that the Government was considering closure of the Nigam, the officials said.

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