Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy said that the Polavaram Irrigation Project (PPA) is a national project which the Union government has a responsibility to complete. He said the Union government has the responsibility as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 and a central cabinet decision taken earlier. He said Andhra Pradesh is only an executing authority of the project being monitored by Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) under Government of India.
Jagan held a review meeting on the project on Saturday, attended by a bunch of ministers and senior officials, where the latest developments were considered such as the reimbursement of balance expenditure incurred by the state government to the tune of Rs 4,014 crore. Out of this amount, Rs 2,234 crore was proposed for extra budget release by the Union Ministry of Finance (MoF) to the Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS).
In the proposal, the MoF stated that the cost of irrigation component in the revised cost estimate shall be construed as approved at Rs 20,399 crore as on April 1, 2014. The Union government asked the PPA to confirm this revised cost estimate. However, the chief minister reasoned that the cost of land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation itself will cost around 29,000 crore, which was approved by PPA, CWC and MoJS.
Therefore, Jagan said that capping the entire project at Rs 20,399 crore has no relevance and is impossible to complete the project at that cost. The state government has also highlighted that land acquisition and resettlement and rehabilitation works are to be considered for payment at the rates, rules and provisions existing on the date of execution, as recommended by PPA, CWC and MoJS.
Jagan directed officials to take up the issue immediately with the Union government at the appropriate level, duly stating that the revised cost estimate as approved by Union government's PPA, CWC and RCC should be considered in the interest of completion of the project and Andhra Pradesh people. According to the state government, internal Union government correspondence from September 2016 and central cabinet memorandum during March 2017, capping the expenditure of Polavaram project has no relevance.
Meanwhile, it was as discussed that the entire cost of the project which was considered by PPA and approved by CWC for Rs 55,448 crore at 2017-18 price level, and further Revised Cost Committee (RCC) constituted by the Government of India approved the cost of the project as Rs 47,726 crore, which has been accepted by the MoJS and recommended to MoF shall be considered for completion of the project.
Andhra Pradesh government requested the Union government to release the funds incurred by it at an early date for speedy completion of the national project.