Andhra Pradesh Minister for Water Resources Anil Kumar Yadav on Sunday said that the Polavaram project will be completed by 2021.
“Our Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy is very clear on the Polavaram project and also announced that the project will be ready by 2021," Anil Kumar told media on Sunday, during a visit to the project site, adding that the CM was overseeing the project works.
He also said that the project works were moving fast, and strict guidelines have been issued to officials regarding project works to be completed by June.
Talking about the delay in funding for the Central government project, he said that only Rs 1,800 crore has been received from NABARD so far, out of a total of Rs 5,000 crore that was promised. The minister also said that in case of further delay in the release of funds from the Centre, the state government would spend its own funds on the project, and later recover them from central government funds when they are released.
Blaming the previous TDP government for its failure in implementing the R&R works (rehabilitation and resettlement), he said that the complaints received from Polavaram residents will be resolved soon. “The previous government failed to implement the R&R, so we have decided to construct around 18,000 houses for the people who will be displaced with this project,” he said.
He also said that the TDP government had completed only spillway works of the Polavaram project, and had spent only Rs 17,000 crore on the Rs 55,000 core worth project.
The Centre is funding the Rs 58,000 crore Polavaram project, which is being built across the Godavari river. While the previous government had claimed that the project would be completed by December 2019, the deadline has now been pushed to 2021.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat recently mentioned in the Rajya Sabha that the project will be completed by December 2021 as per the revised tender floated by the state government, adding the caveat that the completion of the project will depend on how fast the state government settles the issue of rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of families displaced by the project. Shekhawat has also stated that the funds will only be released once the government submits the audit reports for the expenditure made before April 2014, when it was declared a national project. While Rs 5,130 crore was spent in this period, the state has only submitted audit reports for expenses worth Rs 3,000 crore.
Recently, after the announcement of the Union Budget 2020, Andhra Pradesh Finance Minister Buggana Rajendranath voiced his concern over the delay in reimbursement of funds for the Polavaram project.
Soon after being sworn in as the Chief Minister, Jagan Mohan Reddy alleged that major scams had taken place in projects across the state during the TDP’s term, including the Polavaram irrigation project. Cancelling the project contracts due to these alleged irregularities, the YSRCP government called for ‘reverse tenders’.