Hyderabad, Aug 18 (IANS): Telangana's Finance Minister T. Harish Rao has come down heavily on Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat for alleging corruption in the execution of the Kaleshwaram lift irrigation scheme (KLIS).
Harish Rao said since Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao has been exposing Narendra Modi government on various issues, the Centre was resorting to baseless allegations.
The Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) leader has condemned the allegations made by the Central minister and said he spoke irresponsibly.
He recalled that the same minister had praised Kaleshwaram project and told the Parliament that there was no corruption in the project.
Harish asked Shekhawat to clarify how the approvals were given for the project when there was corruption. He said it was the Centre which gave the approvals and loans for the project.
The state minister recalled that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had praised Chief Minister KCR, and another central minister Nitin Gadkari had described Kaleshwaram as the growth engine of Telangana.
Then Central Water Commission chairman Masood Hussain had described Kaleshwaram as a wonder. Power Finance Corporation Chairman Rajiv Sharma had strongly supported providing loans for the project and termed the project a model for the country.
At the news conference, Harish Rao played the videos of Modi, Shekhawat, Gadkari and others.
He claimed that since KCR is "exposing" the Modi government, they have started making allegations.
Shekhawat had said on Wednesday that corruption exceeded all the limits in Kaleshwaram.
He alleged the project lacked statutory clearances and the designs were technically flawed due to which pump houses in three barrages of the KLIS were submerged in recent heavy rains.
"Thousands of crores of corruption took place during construction of the project and now again there is a scope for indulging in thousands of crores of rupees of corruption to repair and reinstal the submerged pump houses and motors," Shekhawat said.
Harish Rao, however, said the heavy rains and unprecedented floods led to submergence of Annaram pump house but claimed that it is completely safe. He said only three out of 17 pumps were damaged in the Kannepalli pump house.
The Telangana minister said that repair and restoration of pump houses is the responsibility of the agency which executed the project and that the state government will not have to bear any expenses.