VIJAYAWADA: Directing officials to specifically focus on timely completion of land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement (LARR) for the Polavaram Project, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has told water resources officials to prepare a plan of action to finish the project by June 2021.
He also said work on the spillway and approach channel should be completed by June this year so water can be diverted through them to enable the construction of an earth-cum-rockfill dam (ECRF) even during the flooding season. The CM visited the project site on Friday and conducted an aerial survey before holding a comprehensive review meeting with the officials. He noted that the action plan must be prepared taking into account previous mistakes.
‘Finish approach channel, spillway works by June’
Recalling that work was stalled last year for over four months during flooding as the planning lacked vision, Jagan said steps should be taken to complete the spillway and approach channel work by June so water can be channelled to ensure working conditions for the ECRF dam. “Similarly, work on the gaps in the cofferdams should be completed by then,” he said, adding that adequate funds would be allotted for the same as Polavaram was among the government’s priorities.
The Chief Minister directed officials to immediately start relief and rehabilitation work so people from the region can be evacuated to safer places even before project is completed. The officials said about 17,000 project displaced families (PDFs) would have to be rehabilitated before the completion of the first phase (+41.15m) of the project. Since villages would be inundated once the cofferdams are ready, the CM asked the officials to prioritise R&R work. He added that an IAS official was exclusively appointed for LARR and instructed the officials to be humanitarian while going about the R&R work.
Jagan also reviewed the status of the designs and funds to be released from the Centre. He said an official should be completely entrusted with the work of liaising with the Central government for getting clearance for the designs and follow-up action for execution.While saying that silting due to floods during the previous season was the reason for the delay in work on the project, the Chief Minister asked the officials to complete the right and left canal on time. The officials said the right canal would be completed in three months and work on the left is being taken up in two phases. The Chief Minister directed them to ensure there are no breaches in the canal.
Also, the Chief Minister proposed to name the bridge, to be built in front of the spillway, as ‘YSR Gateway’. He made this proposal when officials told him the bridge design was made for the structure to be integrated with the ECRF dam, forming a four-lane road. Jagan asked the officials to finalise the design and proceed. During the TDP’s rule, the bridge was proposed to be an iconic structure, and the then government wanted to promote it as a tourist spot once ready.