VIJAYAWADA: STATING that the expert committee is yet to submit its report on irregularities in Polavaram project, Minister for Water Resources P Anil Kumar Yadav said the same was informed to social activist Pentapati Pulla Rao by the Central government. Speaking to the media during his visit to Polavaram project on Monday, Anil Kumar said when the State government is yet to submit the report to the Centre, where is the question of the latter giving a clean chit to the previous TDP regime.
“Once the expert committee report is out, who are involved in the Polavaram project irregularities and, to what extent will be revealed,” he said. The minister said there is a section of people, who are even trying to say that there are no irregularities in Pattiseema project, which is completely false as the CAG report has made it clear that irregularities worth Rs 300 crore took place in it.
“Since our government has formed, through reverse tendering process, Rs 800 crore was saved in Polavaram project alone. The TDP maintains that we have given the project contracts to our people. How is the contract of a cost-saving project through reverse tendering awarded to our people?” he questioned. The minister wondered why would anyone decrease the project cost if they want to give the contract to their own people. Is the TDP ready to agree that Rs 800 crore excess cost was to benefit the project contractor Navayuga? he asked.
“Moreover, during Chandrababu Naidu’s regime, by giving Polavaram project works on nomination basis to those close to him, Rs 1,000 crore to Rs 2,000 crore was taken as kickbacks,” he alleged. Anil Kumar accused the previous government of making false claims with regard to completion of the project. How is it possible to complete 70 per cent of Polavaram by spending Rs 17,000 crore of the Rs 55,000-crore project as claimed by the TDP. Taking exception to the allegation that the YSRC government wasted one precious season of Polavaram project works, he hit back questioning how could the works progress during Covid-19 induced lockdown.
“Naidu and his son, fearing Covid-19, stayed at their home in Hyderabad and conducted meetings with TDA activists using Zoom. Should the workers take the risk and work? Why should there be different kinds of justice to them and workers?” he questioned, but at the same time said they are continuing work with less workforce. Anil Kumar said the State government is determined to complete Polavaram project in every aspect, including resettlement and rehabilitation (R&R) of the displaced. Quoting Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, he said for the government, Polavaram is not just completing the project work, but also taking care of 1.1 lakh displaced people. “Shortly, 17,000 people will be rehabilitated before completion of cofferdam. All the displaced people will be resettled before the total project completion,” he said.