Express News Service
VIJAYAWADA: With an ambitious goal to create 34.42 lakh acres of new ayacut in the State by completing the ongoing major and medium irrigation projects and to address the drinking water problems, the YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in its first budget presented on Friday allocated Rs 13,139.23 crore to the Water Resources department. Strategies to be adopted to achieve the goal of 34.42 lakh acres of new ayacut in the State include interlinking of rivers and completion of the ongoing projects in a time-bound manner.
Interestingly, the budget allocation for the Water Resources Department (irrigation) has come down by 22.61 per cent compared to the previous budget. It raised quite a few eyebrows and a question — Has priority for irrigation become secondary? “It is better to wait for a couple of months before commenting on the issue. The question here is, will they be able to complete the ongoing projects as works of several of them have come to a standstill in recent months,” irrigation expert Y Nagendranath said.
Presenting the budget, Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath Reddy said that the government was committed to make the State “Haritha Andhra Pradesh’ — the vision of YS Rajasekhara Reddy. “To realise the dream, the government is committed to complete the Polavaram project by June 2021 by according it highest priority and providing it sufficient budget,” the minister asserted.
The allocation for Polavaram project in the budget 2019-20 is Rs 5,254.84 crore of which Rs 1,200.41 crore is earmarked for resettlement and rehabilitation, Rs 1,548.72 crore for canals and distributaries and Rs 2,367.32 crore dam and appurtenant work.
The government is determined to complete the Poola Subbaiah Veligonda Project Tunnel -1 in a year so as to provide irrigation water to 1.19 lakh acres. Assurance was given to complete the Tunnel-2 and second phase of the project within two years. “Necessary measures will be taken to complete phase – I of Galeru Nagari Sujala Sravanthi project in a year, duly completing Owk tunnel, storing water in Gandikota reservoir and supplying water to ayacutdars in Kadapa. Similar measures will be taken to complete phase-I works of Handri Niva Sujala Sravanti to irrigate 1.98 lakh acres in Kurnool and Anantapur districts. Further, phase II will be completed in a time-bound manner to fill the existing tanks in Anantapur and Chittoor districts,” the minister maintained. The minister also assured completion of Vamsadhara and Thotapalli projects in Srikakulam district.