NEW DELHI: Congress lawmaker from Andhra Pradesh KVP Ramachandra Rao has charged chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu of ignoring central contribution in funding the Polavaram irrigation project saying the move will only end up burdening the people of the state.
“The UPA government had decided that the centre itself would take up the construction of the project by bearing the cost escalations including rehabilitation. But the NDA government put a condition that it would bear the cost as on April 1, 2014 as your government had come forward to take up the construction. It shows you are scared to speak against the centre and complete the project with whatever little funds the centre would release, thereby imposing the burden on the state,” Rao said in his letter to the chief minister dated November 30.
He released copies of the letter to the media.
According to Rao, Polavaram had been declared a national project through Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act passed by the Parliament and it was not possible for a state government to ignore it.
“The NDA government later brought in the NITI Ayog and NABARD into the funding of the project. The chief minister should have objected to it,” Rao told The New Indian Express.
The Congress leader claimed Naidu was forced to make a statement on the project in the state assembly only after he petitioned the high court asking it to direct the centre to bear the entire funding of the project.
Noting that the chief minister on November 1 decided to take away some of the head works from the main contractor even if it causes cost escalation and called for fresh tenders for works worth Rs 15000 crore, Rao asked who will bear the burden, centre or the state.
Further, Rao pointed out that Rs 23,814 crore grant through NABARD for expenditure between 2015-16 and 2019-20 would be less than half the required amount Rs 54,000 crore.
“Where will the CM mobilise the remaining Rs 30000 crore from,” he said questioning Naidu’s claims that the project will be completed in 2019.
Urging the chief minister to release a white paper so that confusion over funding of the project was cleared, Rao wondered why was Naidu eager on completing a stop-gap project like Purushottapatnam at a cost of Rs 1800 crore.
Rao, who was a close aide of former chief minister YSR Reddy, said he was miffed that Naidu was claiming credit over the project while ignoring former Congress chief minister T Anjaiah, who laid the foundation stone of the Polavaram project in 1981 and YSR Reddy, who got the necessary approvals and completed the construction of canals between 2004-2014.