Nothing can be said about completion of Polavaram right now: Chandrababu Naidu

Chief Minister makes first visit to Polavaram project site after assuming office, blames Jagan for delay in completion of work, says there is need for public discussion on the project

Published - June 17, 2024 07:15 pm IST - POLAVARAM

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inspecting the coffer dam and other areas of the Polavaram project, which is under construction on Godavari river, on Monday.

Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu inspecting the coffer dam and other areas of the Polavaram project, which is under construction on Godavari river, on Monday. | Photo Credit: K.V.S. GIRI

On his first visit to Polavaram Project site after assuming office, Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Monday expressed doubts about completion of the project in the near future. “Officials say a minimum of four seasons (years) are required to complete the project, but it all depends on ifs and buts. We need to ascertain the situation,” he said.

The Chief Minister inspected the diaphragm wall, which was damaged in August 2020, coffer dam and other areas at the site on Monday. He took stock of the situation in a review meeting with the officials.

Later, addressing a press conference, Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said there were four damaged areas on the diaphragm wall. Repairing these portions by constructing D-walls alone would cost ₹447 crore. However, it has not been ascertained how damaged the diaphragm wall is. A new diaphragm wall, on the other hand, would cost ₹990 crore.

He underlined how the TDP government spent about ₹440 crore to construct the diaphragm wall and the 2019-20 floods damaged 35% of it. “All these losses and delay in the completion of the project is solely because of one person, who is unfit to be in politics,” he said.

Mr. Chandrababu Naidu squarely blamed the former chief minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy saying he was a curse on Andhra Pradesh and the Polavaram project. “His (Mr. Jagan’s) unmindful decisions pushed the project into doldrums. In fact, nothing can be said at this moment. The fate of the project hangs in balance due to his (Mr. Jagan’s) unpardonable blunders.”

Mr. Chandrababu Naidu said about 70% of the project was completed during the TDP government between 2014 and 2019. The YSRCP government not only failed to complete the remaining work but also pushed the project into limbo. Had the works not been suspended for over a year on account of reverse tendering, change of contactor, etc, the Polavaram project would have been completed by now, he observed.

The Chief Minister said international expert design consultant M/s AFRY India Pvt. Ltd., Noida, (headquartered in Sweden) has been recommended by the Central Water Commission (CWC) to study the damage and suggest a way out. Also, there is a need for public discussion on the project, and the government would take this up with the Centre, he said.

To a question on whether there would be an all-party delegation, the Chief Minister opined that it would be of no use. He also said that an inquiry committee would not take the issue to a logical conclusion. “All we need is a discussion: how public money was wasted, how the project was affected and what the solution is,” he added.

Minister for Water Resources Nimmala Ramanaidu and others were present.

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