BENGALURU: Water resources minister Govind Karjol on Wednesday informed the Legislative Council that the union government is almost certain to declare the upper Bhadra lift irrigation project as a national project.
"With regard to the upper Bhadra project, not even months but in days, we will see the union cabinet clear our request to declare it as a national project," said the minister.
Once declared, the state government is likely to see a substantial amount of funding for the project from the central government. The project cost at present is Rs 21,450 crore.
The project envisages irrigating as much as 2.25 lakh hectares of dry land, primarily in Tarikere, Kadur taluks of Chikmagalur district, Hosadurga, Hiriyur, Chitradurga and Challakere taluks of Chitradurga district, Jagalur taluk of Davanagere district, and Sira, Chikkanayakanahalli taluks of Tumkur district.
The project will also be helping the state to fill up 367 tanks, up to 50 per cent of its capacity apart from 2 TMC water in the Vani Vilas Sagar reservoir.
The project is also crucial for the district of Chitradurga which has a substantial amount of groundwater which has dense fluoride content. However, if the project supplies water to the district, it is expected to help dilute the fluoride content in the ground water of that district.
Earlier, Karjol defended the BJP government with regard to the issue of allocating funds towards the upper Krishna project and increasing the height of the Almatti dam to 524 meters from the present 519 meters.
He said that successive state governments have spent an overall sum of Rs 13,000 crore between 2013 and 2021 towards the project and that there are a series of legal and financial hiccups in the project to begin in full swing.
“The government is trying its level best in resolving the issues with regard to the upper Krishna project as there are litigations filed by the other riparian states against the allocation of 140 TMC towards Karnataka by the Krishna tribunal. Also, financially, we need adequate funding towards paying land compensation alone which will run into thousands of crores of rupees,” said Karjol, adding that he has personally sought the intervention of the centre to even declare this project as a national project to lessen the financial burden.
With regard to Mekedatu, the minister said the government is firm on constructing the balancing reservoir along the Cauvery river and that even this has been consulted with the union government.