Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Monday said water for irrigation from the Polavaram project would be released by the Kharif agricultural season in (June) 2022. The Chief Minister conducted an aerial survey of the Polavaram project on Monday and later held a high-level meeting to review the ongoing works, after inspecting the spillway.
The state government is locked up in a tussle with the Centre over the overall project cost, including the rehabilitation and resettlement (R and R) component for project displaced families (PDFs), while close to 10,000 families have to be rehabilitated in the first phase for Polavaram to be accomplished as planned.
"Rehabilitation works will be taken up on a priority basis. Initially, the rehabilitation works with an estimated cost of Rs 3,330 crore will be started in flood prone areas when water storage is at 41.5 metres," said CM Jagan.
The state government has also repeatedly been knocking on the Centreās doors for reimbursement of Rs 1,778.88 crore already spent on the project works. The Chief Minister addressed a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue in late October, while state Finance and Water Resources Ministers met Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat seeking approval of the revised cost estimates.
During his visit, Jagan said that there is no change in the height of Polavaram project, while condemning the alleged propaganda that project height is being reduced and called it a falsehood.
He also directed the officials to make alternative arrangements to avoid drinking and irrigation water shortage to the delta region during the closure of cofferdams.
Meanwhile, reacting to the CM's visit to Polavarm, the TDP alleged that he was not telling the facts about the project. Former Water Resources Minister and senior TDP leader Devineni Uma Maheshwar Rao alleged that even the ministers and MLAs do not know much about the progress of project works. He further alleged that there was no transparency as the government was not making data available on the project website.