VIJAYAWADA: The Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) ‘denied’ the charges of corruption and illegalities in the execution of Polavaram irrigation project, including awarding of project, land acquisition, rehabilitation and resettlement (LARR) among others, thereby inferring that there was no need for any probe into the allegations.
It also noted that the State government stated there were ‘no procedural or codal’ violations with regard to the observations made by the expert panel formed by the State and that the committee report, which pointed out several lapses, was under vigilance department’s scrutiny.
The Union MoJS sent a point-by-point response to the representation of activist Pentapati Pulla Rao, who demanded action against the alleged irregularities. The representation was referred to the ministry by the Delhi High Court after Pulla Rao filed a writ petition.
It denied the allegations citing that appropriate action on all (issues raised) has either been taken or being taken, some of issues related to Polavaram project raised in the petition, such as Environmental Clearance are already under consideration of the Supreme Court, and that the State intimated that: (a) there were no procedural or codal violations.
All decisions have been taken after obtaining the approval of competent authority, (b) issues like deviations in works or M-book recordings are being examined by the state vigilance and enforcement department.
“Allegations made by AP Expert Committee (APEC) in its report, and justification submitted by WRD, GoAP has been examined by CWC and, the same are under examination of the Union Jal Shakti Ministry,” the letter said. In fact, the same was informed by the ministry to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in March when the latter referred a letter written Pentapati Pulla Rao to the former alleging large scale irregularities and corruption in the execution of Polavaram project.
In the reply, the Union ministry refrained from commenting on the charges made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during an election campaign in April, 2019, that Polavaram project was used as an ATM by N Chandrababu Naidu’s TDP government. “The Union Jal Shakti Ministry has given the reply after the Central Water Commission (CWC) examined the views of the State government, which submitted after the ministry sought details, on the issues raised by the petitioner. On its part, the State government stated that the vigilance committee report was submitted to the cabinet sub-committee and an appropriate decision would be taken.