The experts believe the government’s financial position is tight due to Covid pandemic thus, higher fund allocation is doubtful
BIJAPUR; 06 Mar: Will the wish of the people of North Karnataka region be met by the Chief Minister, B. S. Yediyurappa for allocating adequate funds for the completion of Upper Krishna Project in the budget to be announced on March 8?.
The question is looming large as only a couple of days left for the CM to announce the State budget amid Covid pandemic and tight financial position of the government.
The serious doubts are also being raised by farmers, activists and others about the completion of the UKP project. The UKP-III phase is aimed to irrigate about 6 lakh hectares of dry land in Bijapur, Bagalkot, Yadgiri, Raichur and parts of Koppal districts.
For the wholly implementation of the UKP-III phase the project cost was estimated Rs 52,000 crore four years ago. After coming to power, Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa promised to the people of Bagalkot and Bijapur that he is committed to complete the UKP in the next four years and will announce Rs 20,000 crore in the annual budget for the next three years during his visit to Almatti in 2019.
However, Yediyurappa had failed to reserve grants for UKP in his first budget, after coming to power, in 2020. He came under a lot of criticism from all the corners, which forced him to announce Rs 10,000 crore exclusively for UKP on the very next day of presenting the budget for the fiscal year 2020-21 in March, 2020.
According to Anil Kumar, Secretary of Irrigation Department, “A total of Rs 4,544.55 crores out of Rs 10,000 crores, which announced in the previous year budget, has been released to Krishna Bhagya Jala Nigam Limited (KBJNL) till February. Out of the funds released the expenditure stands at Rs 4,295.29 crore.”
Ashok Chandaragi, Irrigation Activist, pointed that, “The state government merely released 45 percent grants in the fiscal year 2020-21. This shows the commitment of the government towards the implementation of the UKP-III phase. The Chief Minister is failing to keep up his promise. If they delay in completing the project, the cost will surge by 10 percent every year, which will be a burden for the government, “fumed Chandaragi.
“The state government must give importance to the UKP in its budget and announce Rs 25,000 crore. If not, it will lose the faith of the farmers and people of this region. Importantly, the government has to rush up to develop the necessary infrastructure before the Brijesh Kumar Tribunal gazette is published because it will help to utilize its share of water,” added Irrigation activist Chandaragi.
Similar to the Upper Bhadra Project, the state government is trying hard to get the UKP announced as a national project citing the huge project cost. The representatives of the state government had knocked the doors of the central government but no results have yielded so far.
Criticizing the government, former water resources minister M B Patil pointed that, “UKP cannot be announced as a national project until and unless the state government sorts out its interstate ramifications of the same project. It has to get the gazette notification published as early as possible. The government seems to be not making sincere efforts in the implementation of one of the biggest irrigation projects,” Patil expressed disappointment.
DCM Govind Karjol however said that they have failed to release the complete grants because of an unexpected financial crisis that arose due to pandemic. In this budget.
“We will try to announce sufficient funds. The government is committed to complete the work in the next couple of years”, assured Karjol.Attachments area