State seeks special funds from Centre for irrigation projects

It has requested for soft loan or interest-free loan if grants cannot be given

Seeking to fast-track irrigation projects, the State government has sought “special assistance” from the Centre to complete the pending works to expand the irrigated area, especially in the backward Kalyana-Karnataka region that is covered under Article 371 (J).

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, sources in the government said, has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking special funds for irrigation on the lines of the Centre allocating money to fast-track irrigation works in Bihar. “While we have asked for special assistance through grants, the Centre has been requested to provide money either as a soft loan or an interest-free loan if grants cannot be given,” sources added.

According to an Irrigation Department estimate, the State requires about ₹1.8 lakh crore to complete all irrigation works in the State to reach the maximum irrigation potential of about 40.66 lakh hectares. The department estimates that ₹1.12 lakh crore was needed to complete 245 ongoing irrigation works and about ₹50,000 crore for resettlement and rehabilitation of villages if the Almatti reservoir height was increased by 5 m.

Sources said the Upper Krishna project, which was launched in 1966, was yet to be completed. “Of the three phases, works were yet to begin in stage 3 of the first phase. Adequate funds have not been allocated over decades leading to huge pendency. Most of the water could be utilised in the development of Kalyana-Karnataka region,” sources said.

Sources said that though the requirement of funding to UKP was high, the assistance from the Centre, if it comes, will be spread across the State.

More allocation to irrigation

Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, who will be presenting the Budget on March 5, is expected to increase allocation to irrigation to hasten completion of pending works. The Irrigation Department, it is learnt, has sought at least ₹25,000 crore annually for at least five years that will ensure completion of the projects. Government sources said: “There will be increase in allocation to irrigation and agriculture sector this year.”

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Printable version | Apr 6, 2020 1:58:51 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/state-seeks-special-funds-from-centre-for-irrigation-projects/article30965517.ece

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