VIJAYAWADA: The Central Water Commission (CWC) meeting with regard to the Polavaram project scheduled to be held on Saturday at the project site, has been rescheduled for next week. Further, it will be held in New Delhi instead of Polavaram.
The reason being cited is that the CWC members could not make it to Polavaram from New Delhi due to an increase in Covid-19 cases and the imposition of night curfew. Meanwhile, senior officials of the state Water Resources department are confident of providing water to Kharif crops through gravity by river diversion.
However, they could not give an exact time frame by which the project is likely to be completed and water would be impounded in the reservoir. The earth-cum-rock fill dam, a crucial component of the project structure, is also expected to be delayed.
Sources told Express that construction of the dam may take more time than expected as 1.16 crore cubic metres of earth has to be excavated, which is not an easy task. During the Covid pandemic, the department lost five of its engineers to Covid. However, several works have been completed.
Delay in the release of funds, besides the Covid pandemic, is also said to be one of the reasons for the slow progress. Now, with the number of Covid cases increasing and the looming Omicron threat, experts are sceptical about the progress of the project in an expedited manner.
The state, which has been spending its own funds on the project, is awaiting reimbursement of Rs 2,112 crore even as the Polavaram Project Authority has sanctioned Rs 711 crore for the state. The Union Ministry of Finance on Wednesday released Rs 320 crore as part of the first tranche.
More funds are needed for completing the resettlement and rehabilitation of the project-displaced families and acquisition of the balance land. Only after R&R is settled, water can be impounded in the project. The state has sought clearance of Revised Cost Estimates for the project, which is pending with the Central government.
Delay expected in earth-cum-rock fill dam
The earth-cum-rock fill dam, a crucial component of the project structure, is also expected to be delayed. Sources told TNIE that construction of the earth-cum-rock fill dam may take more time than expected as 1.16 crore cubic metres of the earth has to be excavated
State awaits clearance of revised cost estimates
The state has sought clearance of the Revised Cost Estimates for the project, which is pending with the Central government. During his recent meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, CM YS Jagna Mohan Reddy discussed the issue at length with him and sought the former’s intervention