Our Bureau

Hyderabad, March 11

MEMBERS of the Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) created a furore in the State Assembly for the second consecutive day on Friday over the construction of a mini-hydel project upstream of Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme (RDS).

Displaying posters and shouting slogans, the TDP members protested against the construction of the project when the House assembled in the afternoon after lunch break to consider the adoption of two Bills.

The TDP members continued to stall the proceedings of the House despite the Speaker, Mr K.R. Suresh Reddy's repeated requests to maintain order.

Mr Reddy passed The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research University (Amendment) Bill, 2005 and The Andhra Pradesh Value Added Tax Bill, 2005 without any discussion.

Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister, Dr Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy, assured the members that the Government would take all possible steps to protect the interests of the farmers under the RDS ayacut.

Stating that it was an inter-State dispute between Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, the Chief Minister said that the issue had to be sorted out properly.

Hence, a committee of experts has been appointed to study the effect of the project on the irrigation interests of the State and submit its report by this month-end.

The Leader of the Opposition, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu, however, said that there was no need to appoint a committee as a team of engineers, which felt that it would affect the interests of the State, had already examined the issue.

Replying to the two-day discussion on the issue, the Minister for Major Irrigation, Mr Ponnala Lakshmaiah, said that he had already written to his Karnataka counterpart to stop execution of the project.

He assured the House that the State Government would pressure Karnataka to stall the project.

Cutting across party lines, the Members emphasised the need to stall the execution of the project, or explore other possibilities such as the State Government itself taking over the project, to protect the interests of farmers of the drought-prone Mahabubnagar district.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated March 12, 2005)
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