The state government wrote to the National Dam Safety Authority (NDSA) seeking an inquiry into the condition of Medigadda, Annaram, and Sundilla barrages of the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Scheme and suggest measures on the future course of action. In informal conversations with media persons at his chambers in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, irrigation minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy slammed former chief minister K. Chandrashekar Rao for demanding that Godavari water be impounded at the damaged Medigadda barrage and supplied water to farmers.

“We have written a letter to NDSA on Tuesday to inquire into the condition of three barrages of Kaleshwaram project and suggest measures to the state government on future course of action to be taken for undertaking repair and renovation works. NDSA is the Constitutional body which was set up by an Act of Parliament and which has expertise in surveillance, inspection, operation, and maintenance of dams across the country. We will go by their report on how to proceed further on these three barrages of Kaleshwaram

project,” Uttam Kumar Reddy said.

Lashing out at Rao, he said, “How can he make such an irresponsible and dangerous demand? He knows very well that the pillars of Medigadda barrage sank and it developed cracks. The Annaram and Sunidilla barrages are also in trouble with the same problems. If we fill them with water and if the barrage collapses, imagine the danger it would pose to people and property in surrounding areas.” 

Terming the Kaleshwaram project as the “biggest scam in the history of irrigation in India”, Uttam Kumar Reddy said, “Over Rs 1 lakh crore of public money was wasted for irrigating just 93,000 acres. The funds were mobilised through loans from banks at high interest rates. The irrigation department is forced to spend Rs 18,500 crore per year on repayment of principal and interest. The BRS government also left over Rs 14,000 crore in pending bills of contractors. All of these have become an unbearable financial burden to the state government.”

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