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Upper Bhadra: FM’s Rs 5,300 crore support for irrigation project lifts BJP’s spirit in poll-bound Karnataka

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Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced Rs 5300 crore funding support for Upper Bhadra — an ambitious micro irrigation project in Karnataka, responding to a long-pending demand.

As expected, it has cheered Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai and the Karnataka unit of the BJP as they prepare for the assembly polls in about three months. The finance minister, the party said, has met a five decade old demand with this one announcement.

The Upper Bhadra is a major lift irrigation project in central Karnataka, covering the drought-prone areas in the districts of Chikkamagalur, Chitradurga, Tumakuru and Davanagere. The four districts cover 29 of Karnataka’s total 224-assembly seats and are crucial for the party as both Congress and JD-S have a strong presence in most of them.

Since most irrigation projects cover the Old Mysuru, Mumbai-Karnataka and Hyderabad-Karnataka region, Upper Bhadra has been crucial for the arid regions dependent on rains. Bommai said he had always wanted the Centre to treat Upper Bhadra as a national project, and he was happy the Centre announced such a big funding support for the project. It would irrigate more than one lakh hectares of farmland across the four districts, he said.

Two years ago, the finance minister had similarly announced big-ticket highway projects for Kerala and Tamil Nadu ahead of the assembly elections there.

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