VIJAYAWADA: The Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) is expecting the Central Water commissioner (CWC) to hold the much-awaited Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) meeting for clearance of the revised cost estimates (RCE) of Polavaram Irrigation Project (PIP) after the February-second week.
Once the TAC approves the RCE, it will be sent to finance department through the Union Ministry of Water Resources for a formal and a final approval.Speaking to TNIE, PPA member secretary RK Gupta said, “The scrutiny of the REC of the Polavaram project has reached the final stage. We are expecting the TAC meeting in mid-February.”
After clearance from the TAC and the Union Finance Ministry, the RCE will be put before the Union Cabinet for its approval. In the meantime, the PPA is seeking to obtain land acquisition particulars from the State government to prepare an annual report to be submitted to Parliament.
For the record, the AP Water Resources department officials have been expecting the TAC meeting for the past six months. Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has written a letter, earlier this week, to Union Water Resources minister Nitin Gadkari to expedite the RCE approval and reimburse the pending funds.
It maybe recalled the State government had submitted the RCE on August 16, 2017, with the project total outlay at `57,940.86 crore as per the 2013-14 rates. The cost of the project on 2010-11 was `16,010.45 crore. The reason for cost escalation, the government officials said, was the increase in land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement (LARR) costs. From `2,934.42 crore, as per the approved detailed project report (DPR), the LARR costs escalated to `33,225.74 crore in the RCE. The increase is said to be the reason for the delay in the RCE’s approval as the CWC is scrutinising all details.
“Even by the CWC standards, the approval of the RCE has been delayed. We have spent close to `3,800 crore over and above the approved project cost as per the old DPR. So, unless the RCE is cleared, we can neither get reimbursements of the money we spent nor additional funds,” a senior official said.