Irrigation Minister P. Anil Kumar Yadav recently said that the TDP was responsible for capping of the cost of the Polavaram Project at ₹20,399 crore by the Centre and the party should apologise to the people of the State for it.
“'There is no question of compromise on the issue. It is the responsibility of the Centre to fund the entire project cost, including the rehabilitation of the displaced persons. Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy will write to the Centre and meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi shortly with facts and figures to press the State’s case,” the Minister told the media at Tadepalli on Monday.
Dig at TDP
The State government is only playing the role of a facilitator in constructing the project. If the construction cost goes up, it is the responsibility of the Centre to bear it and there can be no two opinion on this, he explained.
“It was the Centre’s responsibility to construct the project as per the A.P. State Reorganisation Act. Why then Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu government took over the project,” he asked.
The TDP owes an apology to the people of the State for not dissenting though it was part of the BJP-led NDA at the Centre, when the irrigation component of the project cost was capped by the Union Cabinet in March 2017 as per the revised estimates for 2014. The YSRCP, which was in the Opposition then, had raised objections, the Minister pointed out.
“When the total project cost, after being considered by the Polavaram Project Authority and approved by the Central Water Commission, was put at ₹55,450 crore at the 2017-18 price level, how did the then Chief Minister agreed to ₹20,399 crore,” he asked.
It is natural that the estimated cost goes up over time in the case of a big project such as Polavaram. “However, it was unfortunate that then TDP government had agreed for the Special package announced by the Centre and hailed it through a resolution passed in the State Assembly, instead of insisting upon the Centre to bear the entire project cost as assured by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on the floors of the Rajya Sabha at the time of State bifurcation,” said Mr. Anil Kumar.
Mr. Naidu, who went to Polavaram to review the progress of the irrigation component of the project on Mondays, did not take any interest on the issue of rehabilitation over one lakh people displaced, said the Minister, adding that the TDP regime had neglected the project by spending only ₹265 crore between 2014 and 2016.
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