Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao on Thursday made a Power Point presentation using Google Maps in the Assembly on the irrigation projects on Krishna and Godavari rivers, a first-of-its-kind move that drew objections from not only the opposition Congress and Telegu Desam Party, but also neighbouring Maharashtra and Karnataka.
The Congress and the TDP stayed away from the Assembly on the ground that there is no precedent in any state in the country as well as in Parliament of making a Power Point presentation. The presentation was included in the records as part of the proceedings. However, KCR disregarded their objections and went ahead with the PPT on irrigation projects in Telangana since 1956 and lashed out at the previous governments in the combined Andhra Pradesh for neglecting the interests of the people of Telangana. “They sanctioned projects and granted funds for Telangana projects, but the funds remained only on papers,” he said.
KCR prepared his PPT by using Google Earth maps that tracked the rivers Godavari and Krishna from their upper streams in Maharashtra and Karnataka and some of the projects built on them in the newly carved out Andhra Pradesh. He claimed that Google Maps were more authentic compared to those of any state and Central governments.
In his presentation that ran for two hours in the morning and two hours in the evening, KCR clarified the doubts raised by the BJP, MIM and CPI members on the issues that dogged the pending projects. He told the House that the net irrigated area in Telangana has fallen to 19 lakh acres in 2015 from 20 lakh acres in 1956, courtesy the discriminatory policies of previous regimes of combined AP.
“Actually, it should have grown manifold as the region is dependent on rains and wells, but the combined AP governments mostly dominated by Andhra politicians, wilfully neglected Telangana projects by denying permissions and clearances. They deliberately set up Telangana projects in such locations where they ran into inter-state disputes over environmental clearances,” he told the House.
KCR, who had recently signed an MoU with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis for building a project on Godavari at Kaleswaram in Telangana, accused Maharashtra and Karnataka of illegally constructing dozens of small barrages and dams across Godavari and Krishna rivers. “These constructions are leading to a situation where we may not get a drop of water in future,” said KCR.
As per KCR’s PPT, Maharashtra has built around 39 dams, barrages and lift irrigation schemes which are completely unauthorised, robbing around 200 TMCs of water due to Telangana, while Karnataka has raised two dozens of structures on Godavari and Krishna rivers, obstructing the water flow into Telangana.
“So, my aim is to complete all the ongoing irrigation projects by 2019 and bring around one crore acres of land into assured irrigation zones at a cost of around Rs 1.50 lakh crore,” the CM told the Assembly. He also accused the previous Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy led Congress government of misusing thousands of crores of rupees through mobilisation advances for projects “which went into pockets of some leaders”.
Congress member T. Jeevan Reddy said: “This is a gross violation of the Assembly decorum as the CM made the presentation while sitting in his chair.” Sources from the irrigation department said that Maharashtra and Karnataka wanted a copy of the PPT so that they can study its content before making the next move.