Telangana Chief Minister A Revanth Reddy, ministers and legislators on Tuesday left for Medigadda barrage, a part of Kaleshwaram lift irrigation project, whose piers sank recently.
Special buses carrying them started from the Assembly soon after the House was adjourned for the day by Speaker Gaddam Prasad Kumar.
Despite appeals by the Chief Minister and other ministers to all the parties to join the fact-finding visit, opposition parties BRS and BJP stayed away.
While Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS) alleged that the Congress government is trying to malign it, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders said they already visited the barrage.
The Chief Minister, ministers and the legislators will go around the barrage across Godavari river in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district and watch a powerpoint presentation by the officials before returning to Hyderabad in the evening.
Speaking in the Assembly before embarking on the visit, the Chief Minister once again requested all parties to join them in the visit which is aimed at ascertaining facts.
Revanth Reddy said after the visit irrigation minister N. Uttam Kumar Reddy will present white paper on Kaleshwaram.
The Chief Minister requested BRS President and former chief minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao to join them in the visit. He offered to arrange a helicopter for him if he had any problem travelling by road.
Revanth Reddy said when piers of Medigadda barrage sank, the then BRS government deployed police and did not allow anyone to visit the place. The National Dam Safety Authority sent its team, which conducted a probe and submitted its report but the BRS government found fault with that report.
He mentioned that after Congress came to power, some files relating to the project went missing. The Vigilance and Enforcement Department was asked to conduct an inquiry into missing files and also irregularities in construction of Medigadda and Annaram barrages.
The Vigilance and Enforcement Department has submitted a preliminary report on various aspects including loopholes in designing and construction of barrages and negligence.
Revanth Reddy recalled that originally called Pranahita-Chevella project, it was designed to irrigate 14 lakh acres at a cost of Rs 39,500 crore and tenders were called in 2008 by then Congress government headed by Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy in combined Andhra Pradesh.
After formation of Telangana state, BRS government re-designed the project with Medigadda, Annaram and Sundilla barrages and revised the project cost to Rs 1.45 lakh crore, he said.
He also recalled how the then BRS government created a hype and projected Kaleshwaram as a man-made wonder. He said the publicity was done at international level including at New York square and through Discovery channel.
"We are requesting BRS leaders to come to Medigadda with us and should share their experience of how they built this man-made wonder," he taunted the opposition.
Legislative affairs minister D. Sridhar Babu said last month the irrigation minister and some ministers visited to find facts and gather details from officials concerned.
He alleged that due to corruption, negligence, loopholes in designing and construction, the barrage had reduced to ruins. Huge public money was wasted, he said.
The minister mentioned that several barrages were constructed during Congress rule and even after 40-50 years even the cracks have not developed.
(With inputs from IANS)