VIJAYAWADA: Polavaram multi-purpose project on Godavari river, considered the lifeline of the State, was first proposed in 1941 and preliminary investigations were carried out between 1942 and 44. Diwan Bahadur Venkata Krishna Iyer, the chief engineer of the Irrigation Department in Madras Presidency conduct the first survey and proposed the project to irrigate 1.4 lakh hectares and generate 40 MW of hydroelectric power. The estimated cost of the project at the time was `65 million.
The old designs were for a full reservoir level of 208 ft MLS with 836 TMCFT and the name proposed was Ramapada Sagar project. However, due to technical and economic reasons, the project did not take off. With the demand for the project increasing, the Congress government in the late 70s decided to take up the project. In 1980, then Chief Minister T Anjaiah laid the foundation stone for the project. However, for the some reasons, it was not taken up earlier and the project was put on a back burner for the next two decades.
Then YS Rajasekhara Reddy in 2004 decided to take up the project as part of his ambitious ‘Jala Yagnam’. The estimated cost of the project at that time was `86.21 billion. For the next five years of his tenure, Rajasekhara Reddy strived to get the necessary permissions. In 2005, site clearance permission was obtained, relocation and rehabilitation clearance was obtained in 2007 and wildlife sanctuary and forest clearance in 2008 and technical advisory committee clearance in 2009.
However, the progress of the project came to a standstill following his demise. The project was a bone of contention during bifurcation.Immediately after the 2014 elections, then Chief Minister-elect N Chandrababu Naidu refused to be sworn in unless the Centre issued an ordinance merging seven mandals of Khammam district with divided Andhra Pradesh, saying only then can the project be executed. Subsequently, the ordinance was issued. The Polavaram project is being executed by the State government though it is a national project, as per the recommendation of NITI Aayog. In 2016, the Central Government agreed to bear the total expenditure of the project. The State government has set itself 2019 as the deadline to complete the project.
1941: Polavaram project was proposed
1942-44: Preliminary investigations conducted
2004 : AP govt revives the demand for
January 20, 2009: Proposal for Polavaram was accepted by the Advisory Committee of MoWR
Feb 25, 2009: Investment clearance was accorded by Planning Commission
January 4, 2011 : Revised Cost Estimate of Polavaram Project for H16,010.45 crore was accepted by
the MoWR panel
May 1, 2014: Cabinet cleared a proposal to set up Polavaram Project Authority
May 29, 2014: President promulgated an ordinance to amend the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act enabling merger of submerged mandals with the State
September 8, 2016: Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley announces Special Package for AP. Says cost of Polavaram will be borne by the Centre.
December 26, 2016: First Instalment of H1,981 crore NABARD Loan for Polavaram project handed over to state govt