All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Floor Leader in the State Assembly Akbaruddin Owaisi on Wednesday expressed concern over the increasing debt burden on Telangana at a time when Central assistance to the State government had almost dried up.

He, however, lauded Finance Minister T Harish Rao for a presenting a realistic and balanced budget last week despite the impact of the nation-wide economic slowdown. Initiating the general discussion on the annual budget, Owaisi said: “The recent Union Budget gave a raw deal to Telangana State. But the State government is determined to overcome the shortfall through internal mobilisation of funds to maintain the current tempo of growth and mega irrigation projects at hand.”

Urging the Telangana government not to hike power tariffs to bridge the shortfall, the MIM Floor Leader said public debt added to the guarantees that the government had given on loans that would touch Rs 3.3 lakh crore by March 2021. He also cautioned the government against depending much on sale of lands to fill its coffers as it might turn into a case of killing the golden goose. “During the financial years 2014-2019, the Telangana government aimed at garnering Rs 33,900 crore by disposing off lands, but it could only earn Rs 3,986 crore, which was way below the target,” he said.

Appreciating the allocation of Rs 10,000 crore for the development of Hyderabad city, Owaisi wanted that at least Rs 2,000 crore be spent on the development of Old City. In addition to a meeting with all the stakeholders on the steps to be taken for the development of Old City, he also wanted a Detailed Project Report to be prepared on the sectors to be developed.

He reminded the government about the construction of two drinking water reservoirs exclusively for the city. He also wanted decent allocations for Metro Water Works to facilitate completion of drinking water projects at hand. 

Owaisi demanded that the government immediately take up Metro Rail project in Old City. “It was I who mooted the idea of Metro Rail project for Hyderabad on the lines of Delhi when Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was the Chief Minister of combined Andhra Pradesh. Ironically, when it was finally developed, the Old City was kept out,” he said, adding that the party was ready to facilitate the Metro works in Old City.

Urging the State government to save Wakf properties and utilise the funds for the welfare of Muslims in Telangana, the MIM Floor Leader suggested establishment of a Wakf Development Council and also demanded development of a Old City-Shamshabad IT corridor to benefit the unemployed youth in Old City.

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