He also said that the project could have been completed with a quarter of its present cost.

Former Andhra MP Arun Kumar hits out at Naidu questions delay in Polavaram project
news Politics Wednesday, July 05, 2017 - 09:40

Former MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar hit out against the ruling TDP government in Andhra Pradesh on Tuesday, and accused it of neglecting the Polavaram project.

He also questioned how the estimated cost of the Polavaram project had shot up to Rs 40,000 crore.

Addressing media persons in Vijayawada, he said, "Polavaram project has been the people's dream for decades. It has been conceived with an objective of irrigating several lakh acres of barren land, by diverting water, which would otherwise go waste into the sea."

"At least now, the project has reached the present stage, due to the seamless and fervent effort of the state government," he added. 

However, he was not all praise for the TDP.

"When Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy was alive, he discussed almost every aspect of the project with me. In fact, I was almost like a liaison officer appointed in Delhi for the Polavaram project. The Congress party tried to take the project forward but succeeded only partially as the sudden demise of Rajasekhara Reddy proved to be a major setback,” he was quoted as saying.

He also said that the project could have been completed with a quarter of its present cost, if construction had been sped up earlier.

"The project has eluded people for too long for no fault of their own. It can't afford to wait longer," he said.

Addressing the criticism that he faced from the TDP, that he should have acted when he was an MP, Vundavalli posed the same question to the ruling party, and asked them what they had done in the past three years.

This is also not the first time that the former MP is criticising the Polavaram project.

Last week, he lashed out at  Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, and said that he was constructing "a dam" and not the whole project, which was envisioned. 

Though conceptually proposed in 1941, and taken a little further by former Chief Minister T Anjaiah, it was during the term of YS Rajasekhara Reddy that the project began gathering steam.

In 2009, YSR declared that the project would be completed in a span of three years and would irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares.

Since then, Naidu has also taken personal interest to ensure speedy completion of the project.

In its present form, the multi-purpose irrigation project, still has an assessed command area of 2.91 lakh hectares and a power generation potential of 960 MW. 

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