A vigilance official wrote to the project authorities, asking them to release all documents related to the project head works’ contract.

Andhra Pradesh government initiates fresh probe into Polavaram contracts
news Polavaram project Tuesday, August 27, 2019 - 09:52

In the latest development in the controversy surrounding the Polavaram project, the Andhra Pradesh government launched a fresh investigation into financial irregularities in the project. According to HT, regional vigilance and enforcement officer of East Godavari district U Ravi Prakash wrote to the superintending engineer of Polavaram project on August 23, asking the project authorities to release all documents related to the project head works’ contract.

The move came a day after the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Thursday suspended the cancellation of the Polavaram Hydel Power Project contract with Navayuga Engineering Company Limited by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the state. The order was issued in response to a petition filed by Navayuga, who had received the contract when the Telugu Desam Party was in power in the state.

The officer has reportedly asked for documents related to the revision of agreement rates paid to contractors from 2011-12 to 2015-16, and several other records of payments made to contractors as per the EPC (Engineering, Procurement and Construction) contract.

Earlier, an expert panel was constituted by CM Jagan to look into the project, which turned in its report in July. The report had found that slow progress in the project had not been penalised, and price escalations had still been accepted by the government.

The YSRCP government had issued a notification only last week, on August 17, for reverse tendering in the project, for works estimated to cost Rs 4,900 crore. This included headworks worth Rs 1,800 crore and a hydel project worth Rs 3,100 crore. However, the HC has since stayed the move by the state government to call for reverse tenders, with regard to the hydel project.

The decision for reverse tendering was taken despite the project authority, which is under the Centre, warning against it.Several observers and activists had also noted that despite existing flaws in the project, reverse tendering may not be a wise move. The Union Minister for Jal Shakti had also said that cancelling Navayuga’s Polavaram contract would be detrimental to the project. The Polavaram Project Authority under the Union Water Resources Ministry had also warned that re-tendering would drive up the project costs, for which the Centre would not bear the burden.

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