Bengaluru: Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday announced a grant of Rs 5,300 crore for the Upper Bhadra Irrigation Project in poll-bound Karnataka.
This is likely to reap rich dividends for the BJP in central Karnataka region in the runup to this year’s assembly elections.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai last April had stated that measures were taken to declare the Upper Bhadra project as a national project.
The project under the Visvesvaraya Jala Nigam Ltd is a major lift irrigation scheme under implementation in central Karnataka. It envisages lifting of 17.40 Thousand Million Cubic Feet (TMC) of water from river Tunga to Bhadra reservoir and 29.90 TMC from Bhadra reservoir for utilization in Upper Bhadra Project.
It aims to irrigate 2,25,515 hectares by micro-irrigation in drought-prone districts of Chikkamagaluru, Chitradurga, Tumakuru and Davangere and fill up 367 tanks under the drought prone taluks of the three districts through Chitradurga and Tumakuru branch canals.
The primary aim of the project is to provide a sustainable irrigation facility in Kharif season. It aims to recharge the groundwater table and dilute the chemical contaminants of which Fluoride is predominant.
Earlier, the state government had asked the central government to grant national project status to the Upper Bhadra project so that it gets central government funding and executes the project at a fast pace.
As per central guidelines, only projects covering over 2 lakh hectares under drip irrigation qualify to receive funding from the government if they receive national project status.
Since the proposal sent by the Karnataka government meets all criteria, the Jal Shakti Ministry agreed to grant national project status to it, said the officials.