Telangana’S Congress Govt Gearing Up For Probe Into Kaleshwaram


(MENAFN- IANS) Hyderabad, Dec 18 (IANS) The sinking of a few piers of Medigadda barrage, a part of Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme, has returned to haunt the Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), with the new Congress government gearing up to order a thorough inquiry.

Chief Minister A. Revanth Reddy ordered the officials of the irrigation department to furnish complete details of 'sunken' Medigadda barrage.

At a review with the Irrigation department on Sunday, he directed the officials to provide all the details on the sinking of piers of Medigadda barrage and the exact cause of damage to the barrage within three years of its construction.

According to a statement from the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) late Sunday, the Chief Minister held the review meeting with irrigation minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy, Engineer in Chief Muralidhar and other Irrigation officials.

On Saturday, Revanth Reddy had announced in the State Legislative Council that a probe by a sitting judge would be ordered into the sinking of Medigadda and Annaram barrages.

He promised that contractors, ministers and officials found to be involved in irregularities will be punished.

He also announced that all the MLAs and MLCs would be taken to Medigadda shortly to examine the barrage.

Sunday's review meeting and the Chief Minister's direction to officials assume significance in view of reports that contracting agency L&T has refused to restore the sinking piers for free.

Last month, L&T had said that it is committed to participate in the process of restoring the Block 7 of the barrage.

A portion of the block had developed some cracks on the evening of October 21.

The barrage had been constructed by L&T Construction, as per the design provided by the authorities to the quality and standards for the State of Telangana and handed over in 2019. The barrage has since been in operation having withstood the last five flood seasons, the company had said in a statement.

“The matter is under investigation and deliberation by competent authorities. L&T will take appropriate action to restore the damaged portion as soon as the competent authorities conclude on the remedial measures,” it said.

The then BRS government had stated that the restoration work will impose no burden on the state exchequer.

In October, a committee of National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) had visited the barrage and stated in its report that the piers of the barrage sank due to a combination of issues involving planning, design, quality control and operation and maintenance.

On November 1, water seepage was reported from two gates of the Annaram (Saraswati) barrage of the same project.

The report and the incident at Annaram barrage had provided fresh ammunition to the Congress and BJP during the election campaign. They have been alleging massive corruption in Kaleshwaram, touted as the world's biggest lift irrigation project.

The Congress party had promised in its election manifesto that a judicial inquiry will be conducted by a sitting High Court judge into all irregularities and corruption in the construction of the Kaleshwaram project. Legal action will be taken, based on a full-fledged inquiry by a retired High Court Judge on the various scandal and corruption allegations in the rule of the BRS/TRS government, it had said.

The BRS leaders, however, denied any irregularities and said they were ready for any probe.“Technical experts should be consulted to determine the damage. We are ready to face the inquiry,” said BRS leader K. Kavitha.

--IANS

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