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Deadline for completion of river projects extended

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, FEB. 8. The deadline for the completion of the Upper Krishna projects has been extended by three months to March 2006 following the agitation by farmers in Bijapur and Bagalkot. Besides this, the projects have been hit by paucity of funds.

The Minister for Water Resources, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, told presspersons here on Tuesday that this should not mean that the State was complacent in utilising its share of 734 tmcft of the Krishna waters under Scheme "A" of the Bacchawat Award. Of the 734 tmcft of the river waters, the State has given five tmcft of the river waters for the Telugu Ganga Project to provide drinking water to Chennai.

He said some of the Krishna Basin projects such as the Upper Tunga, Kalasa-Bandori Nala, Singtalur, repairs to the Tungabhadra network of canals, which were yet to be taken up, would be completed by 2007. The Government had decided to return a large share of the loans raised for projects in the Krishna and the Cauvery basins owing to the high interest rates. After returning the loans, it would seek fresh loans from financial institutions at a lower rate. The Upper Krishna projects were to be completed in December 2005. The Union Water Resources Ministry had called a secretary level meeting on February 15 to discuss on the objections raised by Goa against the Kalasa-Bandori Nala Project.

Asked about the allocation of the surplus waters in the Krishna, Mr. Kharge said it would be taken up only after the new tribunal allocated the surplus waters to the three riparian States. The tribunal was yet to hear the arguments of the various States.

Referring to the Cauvery Basin projects, Mr. Kharge said over Rs. 5,000 crores was required to complete all the projects while Rs. 2,000 crores was required to complete the ongoing projects.

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