Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: Getting tough with the contractor of Pulichintala project, Srinivasa Constructions, Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy has asked Irrigation officials to collect penalty from the firm if it fails to provide water to the Krishna delta by June 2010.

Reviewing the progress of the project here on Monday, Dr Reddy noted that the dam was being built at a snail’s pace whereas the government expected water to be impounded this kharif and to stabilise irrigation to the delta in Krishna, Guntur, Prakasam and West Godavari districts.

On being informed by officials that the firm was delaying the construction due to non-payment of bills to the tune of Rs. 10.5 crore, he asked them to pay the amount immediately and prepare plan to collect penalty from it on failure to ensure the intended benefit by June next. “This amount is a pittance compared to the huge sum of money we are spending on Jalayagnam, our flagship programme. ”.

Dr. Reddy refused to see the photos shown by officials on the progress of work, saying “I don’t want to see any picture. . I am thoroughly dissatisfied. Nothing will satisfy me except supply of water to the farmer.” His reaction came out against the backdrop of announcements made by the government that 15 tmcft of water would be impounded in Pulichintala this June against its full capacity 45 tmcft, and several concessions offered to the company, including laying of transmission lines to supply electricity to the project site and permission install only 24 crest-gates instead of 36 as originally planned.