VIJAYAWADA: Congress Rajya Sabha member KVP Ramachandra Rao came down heavily on Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu for claiming credit for Polavaram project, disregarding the contribution of others and describing it as a project nearing completion when the fact remains that only half of the project works was completed.
In a six-page open letter with 42 questions to the Chief Minister, Rao said Naidu had tried to mislead the people when he walked on the spillway gallery of Polavaram project the other day and dedicated the same to the nation. Naidu’s haste in dedicating the spillway gallery to the nation is only because of his fear that he may not be in power after the 2019 elections and that completing the project before elections is next to impossible. He described gallery walk of Naidu as a “publicity stunt”.
The Congress leader found fault with Assembly Speaker Kodela Sivaprasad Rao’s comments indirectly asking him (Rao) to visit the project.“Dear Speaker, when you have a misconception that Polavaram could be either in Pakistan or some Kazakhstan, I have identified it as the lifeline of the State. In 2004, when the Congress government under YS Rajasekhara Reddy was formed, I have brought out the project files put aside by you (TDP government). I have infused a new life into the project and strived to get the needed permissions with help of other MPs. When bifurcation of the State seemed inevitable, I, along with other MPs, have ensured that Polavaram was declared as a national project,” Rao wrote in the letter.
Rao reminded Naidu of his one-crore signature campaign in 2015, his several letters to the Chief Minister on meagre fund allocation to the project and delay in commencement of works due to the State government’s non-cooperation and efforts to raise the issue in the Rajya Sabha using privilege motions and private member’s Bill.
The Congress leader alleged that when the Union Cabinet put the burden of cost escalation on the State government, Naidu welcomed the same with “open arms and happy tears”. “I have filed a PIL in court against it and unfortunately, there was no response on your side. Instead of asking the Centre to release funds, permission for change of contractor was sought,” Rao said.
Rao said unlike Naidu’s “gallery walk for entertainment”, he took out a walkathon from Dowleswaram Barrage to Polavaram project site from January 7 to 10, demanding early completion of the project.
Finding fault with Naidu’s remark that Pandit Nehru had failed to inaugurate Nagarjuna Sagar project after laying foundation stone for the same, Rao said foundation stone for Polavaram Project was laid by the then Chief Minister T Anajeya and in 2005, it was YS Rajasekhara Reddy who commenced the project works.
He dismissed Naidu’s claims of completing massive projects that take decades in a few years as the arrogance of a person in power who thinks whatever he says is the truth. “People are not able to digest your frequent dedication of minor projects to the nation and comparing yourselves with the likes of Nehru and Indira Gandhi,” he said.