The Andhra Pradesh Water Resources Department has ordered the termination of the Polavaram irrigation project contract with Navayuga Engineering Company Limited.
After toppling the TDP government and coming to power earlier this year, Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy of YSRCP had constituted a Cabinet Sub-Committee to review every decision made by the Chandrababu Naidu government in the five years since the bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. This meant major projects like the Polavaram irrigation project, Capital Regional Development Authority (CRDA) activities and work on ports, airports, highway projects, etc. were also up for re-examination.
Alleging that major scams had taken place in projects across the state, Jagan had announced that these contracts would be cancelled, and ‘reverse tenders’ would be called for. It was said that in the fresh bidding process, more bidders would be encouraged to participate and the lowest bidder would be awarded the contract.
An expert panel was constituted to look into the Polavaram irrigation project, which turned in its report last month. The report had found that slow progress in the project had not been penalised, and price escalations had still been accepted by the government.
In the letter, Chief Engineer of PIPHW Unit, Polavaram, B Sudhakara Babu wrote, “During the meetings conducted by the Expert Committee constituted vide G.O.Rt.No.295, Dt.14.06.2019, it was opined that the entrustment of part works deleted from the original EPC agency under clause 60 ( C ) of PS to APSS to M/s. Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, Visakhapatnam on nomination basis by converting EPC contract to L.S Contract is not appropriate. Further, the committee opined against issue of relaxing the agreement clauses to the M/s. Navayuga Engineering Company Limited for procurement of Diesel through special revolving fund and procurement of steel and cement through direct payments by the Department to the suppliers.”
Navayuga has also been instructed to settle the final accounts within 15 days.
The Polavaram project has also been contentious because of mass displacement of tribals, flooding of fertile agricultural lands and submerging of large parts of forest area that the project could trigger.