On expected lines, Karnataka gained big from the Union Budget 2023-2024 with elections around the corner and the BJP government in the state facing severe anti-incumbency sentiments.
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Wednesday, 1 February, announced a central assistance of ₹5,300 crore to the Upper Bhadra irrigation project in Karnataka.
“In the drought-prone central region of Karnataka, central assistance of ₹5,300 crore will be given to Upper Bhadra Project to provide sustainable micro irrigation and filling up of surface tanks for drinking water,” Nirmala Sitharaman said.
The move comes as a shot in the arm for the Basavaraj Bommai-led BJP government in Karnataka and the party that has already swung into election campaign mode.
Assembly elections in Karnataka is scheduled to be held in April-May. With the saffron party severely dependent on central leadership as well as central government schemes to seek re-election in Karnataka, the big announcement of central assistance to a critical and ambitious project comes as ammo.
The move is expected to give a fillip to the BJP’s ‘Double Engine government’ pitch in poll-bound Karnataka.
Bommai thanks PM, finance minister
Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai was quick to thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman for announcing central assistance of ₹5,300 crore to the Upper Bhadra project.
ಈ ಸಾಲಿನ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಬಜೆಟ್ ನಲ್ಲಿ ರಾಜ್ಯದ ಪ್ರಮುಖ ಯೋಜನೆಯಾದ ಭದ್ರಾ ಮೇಲ್ದಂಡೆ ಯೋಜನೆಗೆ ರೂ 5300 ಕೋಟಿ ಅನುದಾನ ಘೋಷಿಸಿದ ವಿತ್ತ ಸಚಿವೆ ಶ್ರೀಮತಿ @nsitharaman ಅವರಿಗೆ ಹಾಗೂ ಸನ್ಮಾನ್ಯ ಪ್ರಧಾನಿ ಶ್ರೀ @narendramodi ನೇತೃತ್ವದ ಕೇಂದ್ರ ಸರ್ಕಾರಕ್ಕೆ ಸಮಸ್ತ ಕರ್ನಾಟಕದ ಪರವಾಗಿ ಧನ್ಯವಾದಗಳು.
— Basavaraj S Bommai (@BSBommai) February 1, 2023
The Union Budget allocation to the Upper Bhadra project comes barely weeks after the Central Water Commission said it has given clearance to another big-ticket drinking water project — Kalasa-Banduri.
The Upper Bhadra irrigation project is aimed at providing micro-irrigation in drought-prone regions of Chitradurga, Tumakuru and Davanagere via lift irrigation from the Bhadra river in the Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka.
The project includes plans of lifting up to 17.40 TMC of water in the first stage from the Tunga river to the Bhadra river and further lifting 29.9 TMC of water in the second stage from Bhadra to Ajjampura in the Tungabhadra sub-basin.
The massive lift irrigation project aims to provide sustainable micro irrigation to 2.25 lakh hectares of farmland, especially in the Kharif season.
Water from the project is planned to recharge the groundwater table and eventually provide potable water via the filling of tanks.
The project is estimated to cost ₹21,473 crore according to an administrative approval accorded by the Karnataka government.