The irrigation project, when completed, is expected to be a lifeline for the districts of Prakasam, Nellore and Kadapa.

Ex-YSRCP MP launches padayatra for Veligonda project TDP calls it stuntImages: By arrangement
news Politics Thursday, August 16, 2018 - 16:39

Even as YSRCP President YS Jaganmohan Reddy is on a state-wide walkathon, his senior party leader and former Nellore MP YV Subba Reddy began his own 207 km padayatra on Wednesday, demanding speedy completion of the long-due Veligonda multipurpose irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh.

The padayatra will cover as many as four Assembly constituencies in Prakasam district – Kanigiri, Giddalur, Markapuram and Yerragondapalem, which are awaiting completion of the project. The padayatra will reach the Veligonda project site on its 15th day.

The project, when completed, is expected to be a lifeline for the drought-ridden districts of Prakasam, Nellore and Kadapa, as it is expected to help in the irrigation of 4.45 lakh acres of agricultural land, which is prone to frequent crop failures.

With a capacity of 43.5 TMC, the project would also become a source of drinking water to as many as 15 lakh people in parts of Prakasam district, which are affected by high fluoride levels in their water sources.

While launching the padayatra, Subba Reddy lashed out at the Chandrababu Naidu-led state government for delaying the construction, stating, “Even as people are dying with kidney ailments due to fluoride-affected water in the area, this government is not bothering to do anything.”

YSRCP senior leader Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy, who was also present, said, “After former CM YS Rajasekhara Reddy passed away, the project hasn’t seen any progress. Naidu has only cheated the people with false claims.”

YSRCP leaders also criticised the state government for repeatedly extending the project deadline.

However, TDP alleged foul play and dubbed the YSRCP padayatra a mere ‘political yatra’ to garner mileage.

Speaking to TNM, TDP official spokesperson Lanka Dinakar said, “CM Chandrababu Naidu himself stated in Ongole Dharma Porata Deeksha that he will review and speed up the project on the lines of the Polavaram project. They’re just trying to take mileage out of it as the works are already seeing progress.”

He also took a dig at the YSRCP saying their yatra was a timely one as elections were approaching. “Why didn’t they speak earlier? Why are they making it an issue now?” he asked.

According to recent reports, the project cost has been revised from Rs 5,150 crore to Rs 8,300 crore and had failed to meet certain deadlines. Despite this, state ministers Sidda Raghava Rao and P Narayana asserted recently that the first phase would be completed by Sankranti next year.

Veligonda is one of the state’s most important projects and on the occasion of World Water Resources Day on March 22, the government asserted that it would be completed by December 2018.

The TDP government had earlier claimed that they would finish the project within one year of coming to power. However, due to several reasons, the project continues to be delayed.

Subba Reddy was one of the five MPs from the YSRCP who had submitted their resignations on April 6 – the last day of budget session – to protest against the refusal of the Central government to accord Special Category Status to Andhra Pradesh.

According to a bulletin from the Lok Sabha, the Speaker had accepted the resignations of the MPs with effect from June 20.

 

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