AP to seek 'national' status for mega irrigation projects

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Hyderabad, Nov 21 (UNI) Faced with resource crunch, the Andhra Pradesh government will persuade the Centre to provide ''national project'' status for the mega Pranahita-Chevalla and Polavaram irrigation projects.

State Finance Minister K Rosaiah told reporters here today that Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy would shortly meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to seek a ''special central package'' to liberally fund the ongoing major irrigation initiative ''Jalayaganam'' to provide irrigation water to 1.07 crore acres of land.

Denying the Opposition's charge that the government was going beyond its resources on the pretext of taking irrigation projects allegedly for ''kickbacks,'' he said at a time when the upper riparian state of Karnataka was completing major irrigation projects, the state had to act fast to complete the ongoing ''Jalayaganam'' programme to usher in prosperity.

He said the state would also urge the Centre to provide 50 per cent project assistance under the Accelerated Irrigation Development Programme (AIDP).

UNI SM VA DS SLD KN1828

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