Andhra Pradesh

Fate of two major R&B projects hangs in the balance in State

One year ago, Andhra Pradesh had entered into a tripartite agreement with the New Development Bank (NDB) and the Union government for developing two roads and bridges at a cost of ₹6,400 crore.

The A.P. Roads and Bridges Reconstruction Project (APRBRP) and the A.P. Mandal Connectivity and Rural Connectivity Improvement Project (APMCRCIP) have hit a roadblock as the State government reportedly has not released its share of the project cost till date.

According to information, of the total cost of ₹6,400 crore, the share of the State government is ₹1,920 crore, while the remaining is loan from the NDB.

But, even after one year of signing the MoU, the State government “has no money on hand to fulfil its obligation.”

While this is so, the NDP, sources say, has rejected the Finance Department’s condition that it release the loan amount upfront without insisting on the State’s share.

“The NDB has not only rejected the plea but also stalled the release of the loan amount, pending release of the State share,” says an official on condition of anonymity.

CM’s deadline

With the NDB mulling over “reconsidering the loan” proposal, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has reportedly pulled up the Finance Department officials and directed them to clear all the hurdles for the projects forthwith and end the impasse.

However, the Finance Department has reportedly not taken any steps to tide over the crisis despite the issue being discussed at four high-level meetings chaired by the Chief Minister.

The officials got a earful from the Chief Minister when the issue came up for discussion again recently and set January 18 as the deadline to sort things out, sources say.

The Roads and Buildings Department planned to widen 3,104 km of roads and construct \ reconstruct 479 bridges in all the 13 districts. The two projects are intended to improve mobility and connectivity to the socio-economic centres, enhance transport efficiency, improve road safety and riding quality, and provide all-weather accessibility for the road users.

The R&B Department, which is the executing agency for these projects, has enlisted 124 works in the first phase at a cost of ₹3,013.86 crore and awarded the contracts more than nine months ago.

However, there has been no progress as initially the contractors were reluctant to go ahead, fearing non-payment of bills by the government.

The R&B Department has prevailed upon the Chief Minister for a separate bank account for the projects so that the payments to contractors can be made directly without any hitch.

But the Finance Department threw a spanner in the works by asking the NDB not to insist on the State’s share.

The R&B Department has lined up 120 works under Phase-2 of the projects at a cost of ₹3,386.14 crore. But with the Phase-1 itself on a bumpy road, the fate of the second phase works too hangs in the balance.

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Printable version | May 28, 2022 12:13:41 am |