VIJAYAWADA: The escalation of the cost of Polavaram project and sharp increase in the extent of land to be acquired for its completion are said to be the major queries raised by the officials of Central Water Commission (CWC) in a meeting with the State Water Resources Department officials in New Delhi on Tuesday. The State officials were also asked to justify the increase in the number of project-affected families as per the revised detailed project report (DPR).
After the meeting Principal Secretary of the Water Resources Department Shashi Bhushan Kumar told reporters, “The major point of observation (by the CWC) was why the area of submergence increased as per the new DPR. They also asked us to justify why the number of the project-affected families went up.”
Speaking to TNIE over telephone, Shashi Bhushan Kumar said that the State officials explained in the meeting that the change in the numbers is due to the amended Land Acquisition Act.
“As per the earlier Land Acquisition Act, compensation was supposed to be paid for only patta lands. But as per the new Act, compensation has to be paid to assigned, government, encroached and other lands as well. So, after factoring in the clauses of the new Act, the land acquisition cost and the number of project displaced families increased,” he explained, adding that the CWC was convinced with the State’s argument. The Principal Secretary said the relevant documents supporting the State’s arguments would be submitted to the CWC within two-three days.
Sources said the State officials also asked the CWC to approve the new DPR at the earliest in order to expedite the release of funds. “Since we have already spent more amount than the one approved (as per old DPR). So, it is highly important that the new DPR is approved at the earliest. This is even more pertinent as the pace of works picked up after engaging a new contractor. So, we expect the new DPR to be approved at the earliest,” officials said. They also reminded that about `2,700 crore is pending to be reimbursed towards the expenditure borne by the State government.
Revised estimates and cost
The State government submitted new DPR with revised cost estimates in August, 2017
Two teams — one of engineering officials and the other of deputy collectors — have been staying in New Delhi to clarify the queries raised by the CWC
Area of submergence as per new DPR is 1,09,354 acres against the old DPR’s 57,461 acres
L58, 319 cr: Revised cost after the Land Acquisition Act, 2014, comes into effect
L33,000 cr: Cost of land acquisition, rehabilitation as per new DPR
L16,010 cr: Cost of the project as per 2010-11 estimates
The delegation from the State also met the officials of Ministry of Water Resources who said the pending bills will be cleared by next month