KCR launches world’s largest lift irrigation project

The world’s largest multi-stage, multi-purpose lift irrigation project Kaleshwaram was dedicated to the nation by Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Friday.

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project (KLIP), which promises to change the face of India’s youngest state, was inaugurated in the presence of Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy.

The inaugural ceremony was held at Medigadda barrage in Jayashankar Bhupalapally district near the borders with Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh.

Built across the Godavari river, the KLIP will lift the water to a height of half a kilometre. It is designed to irrigate 45 lakh acres for two crops in a year, meet the drinking water requirements of 70 per cent of the state and also cater to the needs of industry.

The inauguration of this project is seen as a major step by India’s youngest state towards achieving the goal of Bangaru Telangana or golden Telangana by irrigating one crore acres of land.

The inaugural ceremony was preceded by ‘Japa Sankalpa yagnam’ at Medigadda barrage in which Chandrashekhar Rao participated along with his wife Shobha Rao. The couple performed various rituals under the guidance of Sringeri Peetham seers.

Later, the Vedic pandits blessed the governor and the Chief Ministers of Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra. They participated in the rituals on the banks of the Godavari river.

KCR, as Chandrashekhar Rao is popularly known, took the guests around a photo exhibition and explained to them the key features of the project. A documentary was also screened on the occasion, highlighting the significance of the mega project.

The chief minister later drove to Kannepalli along with the governor and Jagan Reddy to inaugurate the pump house. He switched on six of the 11 huge motors installed at the pump house to lift the water.

Simultaneously, KCR’s cabinet colleagues inaugurated other barrages and pump houses at different places.

The foundation stone for the Rs 80,500 crore project was laid in 2016 and it is claimed to be the world’s biggest project of its kind completed in the shortest time.

KCR had visited Mumbai and Vijayawada last week to personally invite the Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh Chief Ministers. The Maharashtra Chief Minister was invited as an agreement signed by the two states in 2016 had paved way for the construction of Kaleshwaram, which was earlier called the Pranahita-Chevella project.

The KLIP is said to be the only project in the world which will lift two thousand million cubic (TMC) feet of water per day. Though this will begin from July, KCR went ahead with the inauguration of the project, saying the time is not auspicious for the ceremony next month.

KCR invited the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister as another gesture to amicably resolve the inter-state problems. The two states are set to begin a dialogue later this month to resolve the differences over sharing of waters from the Godavari and Krishna rivers.

Officials said the state government has so far spent Rs 50,000 crore on this project, both from self-funding and loans raised from a consortium of 20 banks.

KCR said at a press conference that the Centre has not given a single rupee for the project. “Do I have to invite him for every project”, he asked while defending the decision not to invite Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the inauguration.

The Centre ignored the Telangana government’s repeated demand to declare Kaleshwaram a national project.

Claimed to be an engineering marvel, the project comprises a 1,832 km water supply route, 1531 km gravity canal, 203 km tunnel routes, 20 lifts, 19 pump houses and 19 reservoirs with a storage capacity of 141 TMCs.

It requires nearly 4,992 MW of electricity to pump 2 TMC of water every day in the first phase. The requirement will go up to 7,152 MW for lifting 3 TMC from next year.

On a call given by KCR, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) organized celebrations across the state to mark the inauguration of Kaleshwaram.

At TRS headquarters Telangana Bhavan in Hyderabad, ministers and senior leaders joined the celebrations.

The party leaders also performed puja at various temples in the state to mark the occasion.



Hyderabad, Minister of State for Home has become a joke: KCR

 Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday said that Union Minister of State for Home G. Kishan Reddy has become a joke by stating that Hyderabad is a “safe zone for terrorists”.

“People are laughing at him. He has become a joke,” Rao said at a news conference on Tuesday night.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said there was not a single incident of communal violence in Telangana during last five years and the Union Home Ministry also went on record to state that the crime rate in the state had come down.

“There was no terrorist attack. We are an active government. This is a neat and clean state. In fact there is no other state like this in India,” he said.

Kishan Reddy, who is a member of Parliament from Secunderabad, had said after taking oath as the Minister of State on May 30 that Hyderabad had become safe zone for terrorists as any terror incident in the country would have a link to the city.

KCR said since the Andhra Pradesh government had handed back the buildings at the secretariat to Telangana, a new secretariat complex would be built at the existing premises. He said the foundation stone for the new secretariat building will be laid on June 27. The complex with 5-6 lakh square feet space will be built at a cost of Rs 400 crore.

The Chief Minister also announced that the existing Assembly building will be preserved as heritage structure and a new legislature complex comprising legislative Assembly and legislative Council will be built at Yerrum Manzil at a cost of Rs 100 crore.

He said Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments had agreed to hold talks to solve all outstanding issues with regard to distribution of waters of Godavari and Krishna rivers.

KCR said a delegation of top irrigation officials of Andhra will visit Hyderabad on June 27 or 28 for first round of talks.





KCR government performed poorly on voter concerns; ADR

The K. Chandrashekar Rao government in Telangana performed ‘below average’ on the most important concerns of voters including employment opportunities, healthcare facilities and public transport, says a report by the Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

Released on Friday, the ‘Telangana Survey 2018’ said the government also performed “poorly” in providing water for agriculture and tackling problems arising due to mining and quarrying.

Across the state, the major concerns of voters were better employment opportunities (65.99 per cent), better hospitals and primary healthcare centres (33.23 per cent) and improved public transport (25.89 per cent), according to the survey report by the election watchdog.

In rural Telangana, the top priorities were employment opportunities (63 per cent), higher price realization for farm products (45 per cent) and subsidy for seeds and fertilizers (44 per cent). The government performed ‘below average’ on all three, it said.

Employment (71 per cent), noise pollution (50 per cent) as well as air and water pollution (40 per cent) continued to be huge concerns for the urban voters.



Not job of PM or parties to decide Ram Janmabhoomi; KCR

Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao on Tuesday said it was not job of the Prime Minister or political parties to decide where is the Ram Janmabhoomi.

In his first-ever comments on the issue, the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief lashed out at Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for pursuing politics of communalism.

Addressing an election rally in Nizamabad town, he said the political parties should work to solve people’s problems.

“Ram Janmabhoomi, Ravana Janmabhoomi, Sri Krishna Janmabhoomi. Do political parties need to decide this?” he asked and said these issues should be best left to seers and the religious heads.

“This is not the job of political parties. We should work to solve people’s problems, provide water and electricity to farmers, solve problem of unemployment and remove their hardships. If we go on talking of Janmabhoomi, it is not going to solve people’s problems,” he said.

KCR, as Rao is popularly known, said if there was a dispute between two communities, there were courts to deal with it. “The issue is in Supreme Court. We should not interfere,” he said.

“They say we are Hindus. Are we not Hindus. Are we not following Hindu traditions,” the TRS chief asked.

He alleged that for BJP leaders, Hindus were those who target people of other religions. “Hinduism has not said this. It asks you to respect all and love all.”

“Yours’ is political Hindutva. Ours is real Hindutva. You are duplicate Hindus. Your game will not last long,” said KCR.

At an election rally in Karimnagar on Sunday, KCR had said that he was an original Hindu. In response, BJP’s Telangana unit chief K. Laxman had asked him make his stand clear on the Ram Janmabhoomi issue.

“You first spell out whether your party is a political party working to solve people’s problems or it is a party to propagate religion,” KCR told Laxman.



BJP leader wants case against KCR for no woman in cabinet

BJP leader G. Kishan Reddy on Wednesday demanded SHE Teams of Hyderabad Police to book Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrashekhar Rao for not giving representation to women in his cabinet.

Kishan Reddy said the Chief Minister should be charged with discriminating against women.

SHE Teams is a unit of Hyderabad Police formed for women’s safety and it is aimed at curbing their harassment.

Kishan Reddy, a former legislator and former President of BJP’s Telangana unit, told reporters that Chandrashekhar Rao insulted women, who constitute 50 percent of the state’s population, by not providing them representation in the cabinet.

There was no woman among the 10 ministers inducted by KCR, as Rao is popularly known, in his cabinet on Tuesday.

The BJP leader pointed out that the previous cabinet of KCR too had no woman.

“For five years, there was no representation for women. This is happening nowhere in the world. Even Islamic countries have women Ministers,” said Kishan Reddy

He also slammed KCR for not giving representation to tribals in the cabinet and also for keeping all key portfolios with him.

“He expanded cabinet after 66 days but did not find any Minister capable of holding portfolios like finance, revenue, irrigation and industry. What was the need for expansion?” he asked.




Even after 50 days, KCR keeps everybody guessing on cabinet

Even 50 days after taking over as Telangana Chief Minister for the second term, K. Chandrashekhar Rao is keeping everybody guessing on formation of a full cabinet.

It was on December 13 that KCR, as Rao is popularly known, had taken oath as the chief minister following the massive public mandate received by his Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) in December 7 elections.

Along with KCR, Mohammad Mahmood Ali took oath as the only cabinet minister. Ali, a member of Telangana Legislative Council, was Deputy Chief Minister and was holding revenue portfolio in KCR’s previous cabinet. This time the TRS chief has made him the Home Minister.

Since then there has been speculation about the cabinet expansion with no word coming from KCR as to when he will go for a full cabinet.

Political observers say this is unprecedented situation. In undivided Andhra Pradesh, the longest period a chief minister ran the state without cabinet was 17 days. In 1989, N.T. Rama Rao had dismissed the entire cabinet over alleged leakage of budget papers and formed a new cabinet only after 17 days.

“Now the student has surpassed his master,” pointed out an observer referring to the fact that KCR began his political career with the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) floated by N. T. Rama Rao.

“Here, the very formation of ministry is avoided which is more bizarre,” political observer Telakapalli Ravi told IANS.

Ever since the TRS retained power by winning 88 seats in 119-member Assembly, there has been speculation on cabinet formation.

Initially it was believed that KCR, a strong believer in astrology and numerology and known for conducting religious ceremonies, was looking for an auspicious time to expand the cabinet. However, as the wait became longer for aspirants of cabinet berth, it was evident that there were other reasons.

The appointment of K.T. Rama Rao as TRS Working President led to the buzz among party circles that KCR is paving the way for his son to take over as the chief minister so that he (KCR) can play a key role in national politics after Lok Sabha elections.

Political analysts believe that KCR wants to field some TRS leaders including newly elected legislators in Lok Sabha elections to clear the way for KTR to take over. They may include KCR’s nephew Harish Rao, who is said to be unhappy over KTR’s likely ascension.

“Not forming full cabinet is irrational. Whatever may be the reason, it is an anti-climax to the popular verdict given to TRS,” said Ravi.

Referring to reports in a section of media that Harish Rao vacated minister’s bungalow over indications that he may not be inducted into the cabinet, the political observer said all these were creating unnecessary speculations which go contrary to the faith people reposed in TRS.

“The chief minister may be very capable, but what about the legislators elected by people? This sends a signal that 90 MLAs of the ruling party are not capable to provide a ministry.”

The analysts believe that KCR anticipate some problems in immediately forming a ministry and has some calculations to do before Lok Sabha elections.

“Convention and democratic norms demand that there is ministry and collective responsibility. Given the so-called regional leadership of KCR, he should have been more democratic and forthcoming in forming cabinet,” said Ravi.

Even after 50 days, KCR keeps everybody guessing on cabinet