Minister turns down Naidu's challenge for debate

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Hyderabad, Oct 3 (UNI) Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister P Lakshmaiah today termed the TDP's stir against rampant corruption during the Congress regime a ''deliberate, intentional and strategic move for political survival.'' Turning down Leader of the Opposition N Chandrababu Naidu's challenge to the ruling Congress for a debate into the alleged corruption in irrigation and other projects, the Minister told a press conference here that the TDP had ''no moral right'' to talk about irrigation projects which it had totally ignored during its regime.

The Government had explained to the Comptroller and Auditor General that the unintended benefit of over Rs 390 crore to the contractor of the Yellampalli project based on interpolated figure of non-utilisation of 35,000 tonnes of steel did not arise as 1.60 lakh tonnes of steel was utilised in the project, he said.

The TDP, which could not prove any corruption charges it had levelled during a public hearing held at the project site and during elaborate discussions in the State Assembly, was resorting to false propaganda with an ''ulterior political motive,'' unable to digest the massive allround development ushered in by the Congress Government, he said.

Briefing on the review meeting chaired by Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy on the irrigation projects with senior officials, he said Dr Reddy had directed the officials concerned to ensure rehabilitation of those displaced by the Yellampalli project by October 20.

Mobilisation advance to contractors was reduced to five per cent of the project cost by the Congress government, as against 10 per cent given during the previous TDP regime, he pointed out.

UNI SM ROY RR KN1922

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