Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday said that his government was ready to hand over the construction work of the Polavaram project to the Centre, if it is willing to take over, and promises to complete the work within the scheduled time.
Speaking in the Assembly on the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, Naidu said that there were many legal hurdles in completing the project, and reiterated that he was committed to meeting the deadline.
â€śI took the trouble of meeting Union water resources minister Nitin Gadkhari in Nagpur last month, and will meet him once again in the light of the Central governmentâ€™s letter to stop fresh tenders for parts the Polavaram project. I am ready to explain to the Prime Minister the importance of the project, its present stage, and the need to complete it within the stipulated time,â€ť he was quoted as saying.
Naidu, seemingly irked at the central government, even one step further, saying, "If Centre wants us to stop the tender work we will stop it and hand over work to Centre to complete the project. Will take Opposition to Delhi to discuss the project if they are willing to come. We have spent Rs. 12,0000 crore so far, and we need Rs. 42, 0000 crore more for it. Because they (BJP) are the ally, we are acting with patience. My only aim is that the project gets completed on time. Doesn't matter who completes it."
Naidu was angry over a letter that the Centre recently sent, asking the state to keep in abeyance the tender process for works worth Rs 1,000 crore, until it produced the accounts for the funds released by the Centre till now, Mirror reported.
The report also quotes Naidu saying, "As a friendly party, we are observing utmost restraint though the Centre has not been implementing many commitments made to AP in the Bifurcation Act. I did not politicize the Special Category Status (SCS) though it was a commitment made by then PM Manmohan Singh in the Parliament and the Modi government had gone back on it. If the Centre does not cooperate, we will salute it and leave execution of the Polavaram project to it."
Earlier this week, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi not to allow the construction of the Polavaram irrigation project until all pending issues were resolved.
The Polavaram project dam is being built on the Godavari river in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh to help divert and utilise the river water to Krishna and other rivers.
Almost every state surrounding Andhra Pradesh has complained about the project, with Odisha being the biggest critic. A case is also pending in the Supreme Court.