Andhra Pradesh

Centre willing to rectify lapses incalculating Polavaram cost: CM

Holding his predecessor N. Chandrababu Naidu responsible for inordinate delay in obtaining financial clearance for the Polavaram project, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy said in the Assembly on Wednesday that the Central government was positively responding to his government's request to rectify the anomalies in arriving at the Revised Cost Estimate (RCE), which proved to be a stumbling block.

He exuded confidence that in spite of all odds, the project would be completed by the end of 2021 and water drawn from the 2022 kharif season. He also swore not to reduce the dam height by even a millimetre from 45.72 metres and asserted that the full storage capacity of 194 tmcft would be reached in about three years after completion of the project.

Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy pointed out that the cost of Land Acquisition (LA) and R&R package alone accounts for nearly ₹26,585 crore at current prices.

The fact that Mr. Naidu had agreed to the Central government's condition that it would fund 100% of the remaining cost of the irrigation component only as on April 1, 2014 and it was for the State to meet the expenditure entailed by latest prices, from its own resources was baffling.

As an experienced politician, Mr. Naidu was expected to know that the costs of national projects have to be updated once in three years and the State could claim funds accordingly but he simply nodded his head for reasons to be explained.

The Chief Minister also said the previous government was over enthusiastic in taking up the construction of the project which was a commitment supposed to be fulfilled by the Central government as per the AP Organisation Act, 2014.

Walkout by TDP

His allegation that Mr. Naidu had treated the Polavaram project like an ATM as commented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi sparked outrage among the TDP MLAs, who immediately trooped into the well of the House leading to the suspension of nine of them. They walked out before the marshals carried them away and Mr. Naidu and a few other MLAs followed them as a mark of protest.

Intervening in a short discussion on irrigation projects (including Polavaram) and reverse tendering in the Assembly, Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said the entire credit for securing the site, forest, environmental, wildlife, R&R, technical and investment clearances and convincing the Supreme Court to allow denotification of the Papikonda reserve forest to facilitate the project (Polavaram) goes to the Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy government.

A substantial part of the physical progress over the years was also achieved during Rajasekhara Reddy’s regime, the Chief Minister claimed, while making a mockery of Mr. Naidu for spending roughly ₹90 crore on ferrying gullible people to the project and meeting the incidental expenses to show off the minuscule progress recorded by his government.

Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy said the TDP government’s gross negligence in implementing R&R packages under Chitravathi balancing reservoir, Pulichintala, Gandikota, Veligonda, Kandaleru and many other projects was evident from the plight of lakhs of displaced people and the present government’s unenviable job of clearing the mess created by Mr. Naidu.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 8:48:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/centre-willing-to-rectify-lapses-incalculating-polavaram-cost-cm/article33233100.ece

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