Hyderabad: The Telangana government has sought national status and full funding from the Centre to its Rs 80,000 crore Kaleshwaram Lift Irrigation Project.

The demand was raised by the state government at the pre-budget meeting held by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Delhi on Friday, official sources said.

State Principal Finance Secretary K Ramakrishna Rao, who represented the state at the meeting, read out the speech of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao, who could not participate due to the inauguration of the mega project Friday.

"The cost of the project has been mostly met from borrowings by the Kaleshwaram Corporation. As the debt servicing burden is huge, we have requested the Government of India to declare it as a national project and fund the entire cost of the project," the state government said.

It also said the request may be considered and adequate provision be made in the Union Budget 2019-20.

The state said the project, which seeks to provide irrigation facility for two crops in a year to 45 lakh acres, was taken up at a cost of Rs 80,000 crore as Telangana suffered from lack of irrigation facilities because of "total neglect" in the combined state.

The project was described as a boon to the state as it will also supply 40 TMC of water to the ambitious Mission Bhagiratha drinking water supply project. The state government also requested at the meeting that a special assistance be given in 2019-20 for it's Mission Bhagiratha and Mission Kakatiya (for restoration of over 45,000 hitherto neglected tanks) schemes.

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The NITI Aayog had recommended release of special assistance of Rs 19,205 crore for Mission Bhagiratha and Rs 5,000 crore for Mission Kakatiya, it said.

Referring to reorganisation of nine backward districts into 32 districts, the government sought extension of the Rs 50 crore each assistance being given annually by the Centre for development of backward districts as mandated by the Andhra Pradesh Re-organisation Act, 2014 to all 32 districts.

The issue of establishing an integrated steel plant in the state as assured in the Reorganisation Act was still pending and it may also be addressed at the earliest, it added. (PTI)

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