The Pradesh Congress Committee president Botcha Satyanarayana and four other Seemandhra Ministers on Monday took serious exception to certain changes effected by the Government towards payments made to the contractors of irrigation projects.
The sharp differences among the Seemandhra Ministers was once again evident when the Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy was reportedly cornered at the Cabinet meeting in the Assembly committee hall ahead of the presentation of the Vote-on-account Budget to the Legislature.
The PCC president handed over a note to the Chief Minister demanding that the orders issued should be kept in abeyance till the same was considered and approved by the State Cabinet.
Mr. Satyanaryana contended that the new orders provide for many clauses which benefit the private agencies taking up works. New clauses regarding labour payment and material cost have been incorporated to the advantage of implementing agencies, he argued.
Sources said along with Mr. Satyanarayana, Ministers – Vatti Vasant Kumar, Dokka Manikya Varaprasada Rao, Kondru Murali Mohan and C.Ramachandraiah reportedly questioned the need for making such changes which they said would burden the State Government to the tune of Rs. 20,000 crore.
“Such a huge burden on the exchequer is a matter of serious concern and significance, which needs to be deliberated upon thoroughly by the Council of Ministers before arriving at a decision. Surprisingly, this has not been done,” PCC chief remarked.
Mr. Satyanarayana said: “This issue was not brought before the Cabinet. I would also wonder whether a senior and experienced officer like the Chief Secretary, who is also secretary to the Cabinet, brought to your kind notice, the need to place the matter of such great significance before the Cabinet prior to a final decision.”
He said any deviation to the procedures on such important issues would not only cast serious burden on the State exchequer unilaterally but would also set wrong and unwarranted precedents. Other Ministers expressed fears that such unilateral actions would put the Ministers and bureaucrats in a spot. They have decided to write to the Central Vigilance Commission, if corrective action was not taken.