Releasing small quantum of funds not enough, say members
Minister for Water Resources M.B. Patil on Thursday announced that the government would bring out a White Paper on the status of all ongoing irrigation projects in the State.
Intervening during the debate on the demand for grants for his department in the Assembly, Mr. Patil said the White Paper would provide details such as when the projects were taken up, their physical and fiscal progress and total quantum of funds spent, details of land required and acquired, and an update on the Rehabilitation and Resettlement works.
However, such a plan was ridiculed by his party colleague K.R. Ramesh Kumar. “What we are demanding is the timely completion of irrigation projects with sufficient allocation of funds. But, you are offering to give us only white and blue papers. What shall we do with such papers?” an angry Mr. Kumar remarked, while referring to the concern expressed by members cutting across party lines that it was not possible to complete the ongoing irrigation projects, especially the Upper Krishna Project (UKP), within the stipulated time, given the present pattern of releasing small quantum of funds.
Endorsing his views, other members too observed that it was not possible to complete the UKP even after 50 years if the allocation of funds is not increased drastically.
Intervening in the debate, Speaker Kagodu Thimmappa told Mr. Patil: “If you want time-bound completion of irrigation projects, then you must have an action plan which is backed by sufficient funds.”
The Speaker expressed concern over the projects languishing for decades for lack of funds and improper planning. Having invested crores of rupees on these projects, he wondered if it was not a dead investment.