When dignitaries left the venue of the grand opening of Telangana's multi-crore Kaleshwaram lift-irrigation project on the Godavari a few months ago, it was with a first-hand look into how a river can be effectively harnessed to provide water to millions across a state.
But there was something else that the guests, including Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy, took away from the event hosted by the K Chandrasekhar Rao-led Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) government too. To be specific, silver gift items crafted in Karimnagar that has cost the state exchequer as much as Rs 1.66 crore.
Mr Fadnavis and Mr Reddy were chief guests at the grand opening of the project in Jayashankar Bhupalpally district, which borders both Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh, on June 21. While the Maharashtra Chief Minister got a silver filigree, a piece of jewellery characterised by tiny beads and metal threads, Mr Reddy received a handcrafted peacock.
Telangana Governor ESL Narasimhan and several ministers from Andhra Pradesh also took away gifts from the event.
The Telangana government had placed its order for the items well in advance, and they were delivered two months before the event. About 180 kg silver was used for the purpose, and half the cost was paid up within two months.
During his visit to Telangana over the weekend, BJP working president JP Nadda had claimed that the Kaleshwaram project was steeped in corruption. The TRS rejected the allegation, and challenged Mr Nadda to come up with proof.