Hyderabad: Just weeks before the Telangana assembly elections, a scathing report by the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) on the sinking of the Medigadda barrage pillars has put the state’s Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) government in trouble.
The central panel held the planning, design, quality control and operation-maintenance responsible for the sinking of some pillars on October 21, which were part of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP) on the Godavari.
The K. Chandrasekhar Rao-led government touts KLIP – known as the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation project – as its major achievement, and often criticizes Narendra Modi for not granting it national project status. Criticizes the Modi-led Centre.
The report, sent to the Telangana government on Wednesday and made public on Friday, gave opposition parties Congress and BJP an opportunity to attack BRS afresh. All this is happening at a time when BRS is appealing to voters to return to power for the third time.
The Congress and BJP are presenting the Kaleshwaram project to the public as a symbol of “corruption” by Chief Minister KCR, alleging arbitrary design changes, shoddy work and misappropriation of Rs 1 lakh crore .
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Telangana Congress on Friday night wrote a letter to President Draupadi Murmu demanding a CBI inquiry into the failure of the Kaleshwaram project, while Karimnagar MP and former Telangana BJP chief Bandi Sanjay demanded that the loss should be compensated by KCR.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat posted on Twitter on Friday, “Exposed! The corruption of the Telangana government led by K Chandrasekhar Rao has been disappointingly exposed. It is scary to know that due to the greed and corruption of the BRS government, the lives of lakhs of people were put at risk and the taxpayers lost crores of rupees.”
On Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, while campaigning in South Telangana, visited the barrage along with state Congress chief Revanth Reddy. “I visited the barrage, which is a part of the corruption-plagued Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme in Telangana,” Gandhi posted on Twitter. “Due to poor construction, many pillars have developed cracks and reports indicate that the pillars are sinking.”
Kaleshwaram Project = KCR Family ATM
I visited the Medigadda barrage, which is a part of the corruption-ridden Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme in Telangana.
Cracks have developed in multiple pillars because of shoddy construction with reports indicating that the pillars are… pic.twitter.com/BWe8Td9mCq
—Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) November 2, 2023
With elections to be held in the state on November 30, Kaleshwaram again became the focus of the opposition as six pillars in three blocks of Medigadda (Lakshmi) barrage submerged on October 21. Visuals of potholes on the road above the barrage went viral on social media and news channels and BJP, Congress intensified their attack on BRS.
Following a letter to Shekhawat by Union minister and Telangana BJP chief Kishan Reddy for investigation, an NDSA team inspected Medigadda and held review meetings with state irrigation officials between October 23 and 25.
The inspection report sent by NDSA Chairman (Additional Charge) Sanjay Sibal to Special Chief Secretary, Irrigation and CAD Department, Telangana, Rajat Kumar, was shared by Reddy and Sanjay on social media platform X on Friday.
All these became common during the rule of KCR Mark.
Central Dam Safety Authority officials, after inspecting Madigad Barrage in the wake of leakage and collapse of pillars, have… pic.twitter.com/SAPFRMK5ez
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) November 3, 2023
On Saturday, Kishan Reddy posted a video on Instagram while visiting Medigadda Barrage along with a message.
On my way to the Medigadda barrage in Bhupalpally Dist.
In view of the failure of Madigad barrage, I reached the Kaleshwar project along with BJP leaders Laxman Garu, Rajendar Garu and Raghunandan Gari. pic.twitter.com/bi229uReLC
— G Kishan Reddy (@kishanreddybjp) November 4, 2023
Corruption & Negligence in Kaleshwaram project stands exposed!
Medigadda barrage piers had sunk due to a combination of issues involving planning, design, quality control and operation and maintenance as per National Dam Safety Authority.
The shoddy work exposes the… pic.twitter.com/unPbzmfepI
— Bandi Sanjay Kumar (@bandisanjay_bjp) November 3, 2023
However, Telangana irrigation officials, speaking to journalists, claimed that the breach in Medigadda was not caused by the redesigning of the KLIP – the Pranahita-Chevella Sujala Sravanthi – conceived by the Y S Rajasekhara Reddy government in 2008–2009 but by sand erosion. happened.
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what is the project
The then Governor of Telangana, E.S.L. It was inaugurated by Narasimhan and KCR in June 2019. At that time Andhra Pradesh CM Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy and the then Chief Minister of Maharashtra Devendra Fadnavis were present as special guests. Since its inauguration, the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project has been surrounded by controversies, shortcomings and allegations of corruption.
The objective of the project was to provide 169 thousand million cubic feet (TMC) of water for irrigation, 30 TMC for drinking water needs of Hyderabad, 16 TMC for industrial use.
In July 2022, flood waters submerged the project’s massive motors at the Kannepalli Pump House as excess water flowed into the barrage, causing huge losses to the state government.
After the Megidda incident, Telangana Police had cordoned off the barrage area, about 250 km north-east of Hyderabad.
What does the NDSA report say?
According to the NDSA report: “The condition of failure in one block of Medigadda Barrage is adversely affecting the functionality of the barrage to such an extent that the current situation necessitates its complete repair.”
The structure of the damaged block would need to be completely repaired to make it functional, it said, warning that “given the similarities, there is a possibility that the remaining blocks will be damaged.” This will make it necessary to repair the entire barrage again. Filling the reservoir in the present situation will damage the health of the barrage and should not be resorted to.
The NDSA has also blamed the Telangana Irrigation Department for not submitting information on project equipment data, pre-monsoon and post monsoon inspection reports, completion reports, quality control reports, status of gates and other inputs, which the visiting team took into consideration in the case. Had asked for in-depth investigation.
To further complicate matters for BRS, widespread leakage was observed on Wednesday at Sundila (Parvati) and Annaram (Saraswati) barrages, which are also part of KLIP.
The NDSA report also asks the Telangana government to investigate these barrages. “The two barrages constructed upstream of Medigadda under the Kaleshwaram project, Annaram and Sundila Barrages, have similar design and construction methods, making them prone to similar problems. Signs of boiling are already present in the lower part of Annaram Barrage, which shows that it may malfunction. The piping/problems of this barrage should also be checked.”
(Editing: Shiv Pandey)
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