TDP national president and former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Sunday said the failure of the Jagan Mohan Reddy government at multiple-levels had hit the Polavaram project hard.
At a press conference here, Mr. Naidu said the multi-purpose project across the Godavari river near Rajamahendravaram, comprising a 194 tmcft reservoir for irrigation and drinking water purposes and a power plant of 960 MW capacity was the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh.
“Amaravati and Polavaram are like two eyes of the State. But unfortunately, the Chief Minister’s irresponsible way of handling the key issues will ruin both the projects,” said Mr. Naidu.
Talking about how the Chief Miniser had shot a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the Ministry of Finance capping project cost at ₹20,398 crore as against the ₹47,725 crore the State wanted, Mr. Naidu said Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy lacked the finesse needed to handle such important issues.
Pointing to the fact that the Union Finance Ministry had offered less than half of the revised cost required to complete the Polavaram multi-purpose dam project, putting a question mark on its future, Mr. Naidu said it was unfair on the part of Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy to push the blame on the TDP at this stage.
He alleged that the YSR Congress Party was resorting to mudslinging at the TDP as a diversionary tactic. He said Mr. Jagan Mohan Reddy’s ignorance and arrogance were at play when he went ahead with the reverse tendering process, ignoring the advice of the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) and the Union Jal Shakti Ministry.
The TDP president said the overall project cost had increased manifold because of the hike in the cost of land acquisition and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) components, which had gone up from ₹2,937.26 crore during 2010-11 to ₹33,187.07 crore after the 2013 Land Acquisition Act came into force.
“The YSRCP government should have convinced the Centre and settled the issue in an amicable way. Finding lapses with the previous regime and writing letters to the Centre would not help the people of Andhra Pradesh. A crucial project which has a potential to irrigate every acre in the State is now hanging fire,” said Mr Naidu.
He said instead of focussing on early completion of the project, the YSRCP government was busy making needless comments against the TDP, blaming it for taking up the project under the State Government’s supervision.
He said the Polavaram was declared a national project in 2014, meaning that the Central government would provide the funds while the State government will execute the work.
He said taking into consideration the past record of 16 national projects executed in 10 States had taken 30 to 50 years for completion, the Union Cabinet had given the task of executing the Polavaram project to the State government.