Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project sparks slugfest in poll-bound Telangana | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project sparks slugfest in poll-bound Telangana

By, Hyderabad
Nov 03, 2023 06:48 AM IST

A controversy over alleged engineering lapses in the ₹1 lakh crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project on the Godavari river triggered an electoral slugfest

A controversy over alleged engineering lapses in the 1 lakh crore Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project on the Godavari river triggered an electoral slugfest in poll-bound Telangana on Thursday, with the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) accusing the state government of corruption.

The Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project is on the Godavari river. PREMIUM
The Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project is on the Godavari river.

While the ruling Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) did not react to BJP’s allegation, it hit out at the Congress, saying the party “should not give lectures on corruption”.

On Thursday, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi flew down to Ambatipalli village, where six piers of the project partially sank into the ground on October 21, forcing the authorities to empty the reservoir and ban traffic on the road constructed over the barrage.

Gandhi, along with Telangana state unit chief A Revanth Reddy and other senior leaders, visited the project site. “Cracks have developed in multiple pillars because of shoddy construction with reports indicating that the pillars are sinking,” Gandhi said, hitting out at chief minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. “ 1 lakh crore was looted from the people of Telangana. Nobody here benefitted from the project. Our party workers are right in their argument that the project has turned out to be an ATM for KCR and his family,” he added.

The Congress is attempting to use the controversy to paint BRS as corrupt; it has launched a campaign, Kaleshwaram ATM, and Reddy has described Rao as Kaleshwaram Corruption Rao.

“KCR has put the Kaleshwaram project at risk with the corruption of crores of rupees. Now, that project has put KCR in risk. The society of Telangana wants to punish KCR for his high-level corruption,” Reddy told reporters.

BJP state unit chief G Kishan Reddy also accused the state government of poor design and low-quality work, and said these were responsible for the sinking of piers. Stating that the incident proved large-scale corruption in the project, he demanded the resignation of the chief minister. “The piers seem to have sunk because the soil is not treated properly. It is a fit case of foundation inspection failure,” he said.

While BRS leaders have largely remained tightlipped over the controversy, party working president and Telangana minister K T Rama Rao took a dig at Gandhi, saying he is not a leader but just a “reader”. “Rahul Gandhi is just a reader and not a leader. He should either change his script or scriptwriters because he repeats the same thing wherever he goes in the country...Congress has been involved in rampant corruption,” he said in Hyderabad.

“Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi are themselves facing a probe in the National Herald case. So they should not come here to lecture us on corruption,” he added.

K T Rama Rao said the barrage withstood the last five flood seasons. “Let the dam safety committee inspect the project. In any case, the contracted agency will bear the cost of any repair,” he said.

With 119 seats, Telangana goes to the polls on November 30. The BRS is hoping for a third consecutive term, staving off challenges from the Congress and BJP.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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