Krishna tribunal award will be out soon, says Bommai

Delay in project implementation flagged by many members

Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai on Wednesday said that Karnataka was expecting an order from the Supreme Court shortly that could pave the way for notification of the Krishna Water Disputes Tribunal-2 award.

“Telangana has withdrawn its petition. Due to our efforts, the court has taken up early hearing. We are expecting an order shortly,” he told the Legislative Assembly during the debate on North Karnataka development. “We are arriving at a final stage. The Centre is expected to state its stand during the next hearing on January 10. I am speaking to the lawyers for every hearing,” he added.

The Chief Minister’s response came after the former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy raised the issue of delay in implementing the Upper Krishna project phase-3.

Mr. Kumaraswamy, in a veiled attack on the Congress, said that between 2013 and 2018 just about ₹8,076 crore had been spent on UKP-3, and money had been spent on main canals. “Water has not reached the fields since distribution canals have not been done. Should we give programmes only to satisfy contractors or give water to farmers?”

Accusing the Centre of showing stepmotherly attitude, he said that Karnataka had not received funds from the Centre for irrigation projects. Irrigation projects, he said, had seen cost escalation. “Estimated cost of Upper Bhadra has gone up from ₹4,000 crore to ₹28,000 crore, Yettinahole cost has gone up from ₹14,000 crore to ₹24,000 crore, and revised estimates of UKP-3 is now ₹51,000 crore.” Earlier, the former Water Resources Minister M.B. Patil initiated the discussion on North Karnataka.

Cong. under attack

The House was witness to the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP reminding the Congress of its failed promise on the Krishna.

It all started when Mr. Kumaraswamy referred to the seven-day ‘Congress Nedige Krishna Kadege’ from Hosapete to Kudalasangama in January 2013 in which the party made an announcement to keep aside ₹10,000 annually for the Krishna basin projects. Soon, Mr. Patil and the former Deputy Chief Minister G. Parameshwara refuted the statement by saying that the promise in Kudalasangama was to keep aside ₹10,000 crore for irrigation projects and not Krishna projects alone. “We allocated ₹58,000 crore in five years and spent ₹48,000 crore,” Mr. Patil defended.

However, Minister for Major and Minor Irrigation Govind Karjol and BJP legislator Basannagouda Patil Yatnal disputed the claim. Mr. Karjol readout the Congress manifesto. In response, Mr. Patil said, “It was a typo and we had clarified it.” Later, taking a dig at the proposed padayatra of the Congress from Mekedatu to Bengaluru in January, Mr. Kumaraswamy said it was being planned in the light of elections.

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