Day after Budget, CM allocates Rs 10,000 cr for UKP-III

Day after Budget, CM allocates Rs 10,000 cr for Upper Krishna Project Stage-III

Representative image. (Credit: DH Photo)

Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa on Friday announced that Rs 10,000 crore will be earmarked for the Upper Krishna Project (UKP) Stage-III, a day after the 2020-21 Budget made no mention of the long-pending irrigation project.

Making an announcement in the Legislative Assembly, Yediyurappa said an action plan will be prepared for the project worth Rs 10,000 crore. “To take up UKP-III works and rehabilitation & resettlement (R&R) of 27 villages, Rs 10,000 crore will be earmarked in the upcoming financial year. The government is committed to take up R&R over the next three years,” he said. 

The announcement came even as the Opposition pointed out that the 2020-21 Budget, which Yediyurappa presented Thursday, had no allocation for the UKP-III. 

“I have discussed mobilizing resources for this with officials. I am going to Delhi to get more funds,” Yediyurappa said. 

The UKP-III will increase the height of the Almatti dam to 524 metres and increase storage capacity from 123.5 tmc to nearly 200 tmc. This will help the state fully utilize its share of the Krishna river water allocation. The project will irrigate 5.3 lakh hectares in the drought-prone districts of Kalaburagi, Yadgir, Raichur, Koppal, Vijayapura, Bagalkot and Gadag. 

Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah, however, was not impressed. “Where’s the money for this,” he asked, to which Yediyurappa assured the House that the government will mobilize the resources required for the project, which he said was languishing for years. 

Intervening on this topic, Deputy Chief Minister Govind Karjol said the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar had allocated 173 tmc water for the UKP-III. “It’s been seven years and previous governments did not give a single rupee,” he said. “In 2012-13, when Jagadish Shettar (BJP) was the CM, an action plan worth Rs 17,207 crore had been approved. The next government (Congress) didn’t take it forward,” he said. 

The UKP-III project will require R&R of 27 villages and compensation for 1.32 lakh acres. “If this had been done, we could have raised the height of the dam to 524.25 mt,” Karjol said. “I expected Siddaramaiah, who now belongs to my Bagalkot district, to congratulate the CM." 

Siddaramaiah said it was hard to believe that the government can mobilize resources. “If this had been included in the budget speech, I’d have certainly congratulated the government. But the CM is now saying he'll do jugglery to raise funds.”

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