‘India’s biggest scam’: YSRTP chief alleges corruption in Telangana’s Kaleshwaram irrigation project

YS Sharmila, YSR Telangana Party president and sister of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, on Friday alleged corruption in Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project in Telangana and described it as “India’s biggest scam’.

Sharmila alleged embezzlement of a major part of the money invested in the Rs 80,500-crore project. Addressing a press conference, Sharmila said, “I am here to highlight the biggest scam in India. The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project scam is bigger as it is not just virtual money but also physical money that has cost the exchequer. The tune of money involved is Rs 1.2 lakh crore.”

She further claimed that the idea of the irrigation project was her father’s, YS Rajasekhara Reddy’s. “The Kaleshwaram Project was the brainchild of my father but it has been distorted in every form. Of the Rs 1.2 lakh crore invested in this, around Rs 1 lakh crore came from central financial institutions. We met CBI Director and he assigned a DIG rank officer to look into the corruption” added Sharmila.

In June, 2019 Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao inaugurated the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project in Bhupalpally district, labelled as the world’s largest multi-stage lift irrigation scheme. The project has been mired in controversy since its inception.

In August 2019, Congress MP from Bhongir, Komatireddy Venkat Reddy, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi alleging a scam of “thousands of crores of rupees” in executing the Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project.

Reddy had demanded a detailed inquiry and urged PM Modi to stop the work immediately and prevent the misuse of the huge amount granted by the Government exchequer. He also requested to call out the tenders to execute the work with transparency.

In October 2020, the National Green Tribunal held that the environmental clearances granted to the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project in Telangana were in violation of the law and directed to constitute an expert committee to assess the extent of damage and identify the necessary restoration measures.

The Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation (KLIP) Project was constructed by Megha Engineering and Infrastructure Limited (MEIL). KLIP is the costliest irrigation project taken up by a state till date. It is designed to benefit farmers in the districts of Karimnagar, Nizamabad, Warangal, Medak, Nalgonda and Ranga Reddy.

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