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Andhra seeks more funds for potable water schemes

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New Delhi, Feb 22 (UNI) Conceding that certain districts of Andhra Pradesh were faced with an acute shortage of drinking water, the Centre today assured all help to the state government, including loans from international funding agencies, to tide over the crisis.

Replying to a query from Mr C Ramachandraiah (TDP) during question hour in the Rajya Sabha, Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh said during the current year, a sum of Rs 22.80 crore had been released to Andhra Pradesh for taking up 503 new projects under the 'Swajaldhara Yojana'.

In addition, Rs 3.29 crore had been released till date during the current fiscal as balance installments for scheme taken up under 'Swajaldhara' from 2002-03 to 2004-05.

Quoting reports from the state government, the Minister said a total of 2,685 schemes were taken up during this period, and 2,122 of these had been completed.

Mr Ramachandraiah said the state government had formulated an ambitious scheme, involving an expenditure of Rs 5,070 crore, for providing potable water to 39,000 habitations. ''But the shortage of funds is proving to be a big impediment,'' he said, adding that the project had been sent to the central government.

The TDP member said the Andhra government had also impressed upon the Centre to play the role of a facilitator in securing loans for the project from international financial institutions like the World Bank.

''The Centre has sanctioned mere Rs 150 crore for the project, but it is grossly insufficient,'' he argued.

Assuring all help to the state government, the Minister said the Centre was willing to underwrite guarantee for loans from the World Bank.

He said the districts in Andhra Pradesh where 'Swajaldhara' scheme had been implemented since 2002-03 included Adilabad, Anantpur, Cuddapah, East Godavari, Mehboobnagar, Guntur, Rangareddy, Warangal, West Godavari, Khammam, Karimnagar, Krishna, Medak and Nalgonda.

Mr Singh also refuted a suggestion that 'Swajaldhara Yojana' was not proving beneficial due to rampant corruption in its implementation.

''No specific complaint of corruption in the implementation of the scheme has been received,'' he said.

UNI SKS LR ND1333

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