VIJAYAWADA: In what could be a relief to the cash-strapped exchequer, the Union Ministry of Finance has given clearance to the Union Ministry of Water Resources for the release of Rs 1,850 crore towards reimbursement to the Andhra Pradesh government for expenditure made on the Polavaram irrigation project.
The Water Resources Ministry will borrow funds from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) and transfer them to the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), which will, in turn, give the amount to the State Water Resources Department.
“The Department of Expenditure of the Union Finance Ministry on Friday issued orders considering the recommendation made by the Union Water Resources Ministry and allowed to fund an additional Rs 1,850 crore. The money is expected to reach us in a couple of days,” Special Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Adityanath Das told TNIE.
Over Rs 5,600 crore is pending from the Centre towards reimbursement of the expenditure made by the State on the national project. For the record, the Union Water Resources Minister, over six months ago, recommended an interim release of Rs 3,000 crore for Polavaram.
Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has recently submitted representations to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah seeking an interim release of Rs 16,000 crore for the national project as rehabilitation and resettlement needs to be done.
However, the order stated that the Finance Ministry allowed to fund Rs 1,850 crore “for the time being as an interim measure pending finalisation/audit of expenditure figures by the competent authority.” “It is reiterated that the audit accounts of expenditure and the final cost estimate of the project as on April 1, 2014, may be provided for any further releases,” the order issued by Director (Public Finance Central-I) of Department of Expenditure Shivalli M Chouhan said.
Special Chief Secretary Adityanath Das exuded confidence that more funds are likely to be released soon.