Andhra Pradesh Minister of Irrigation (Water Resources) Anil Kumar blamed the TDP government for ignoring rehabilitation work for families affected by the project.

Work on Polavaram project to continue from November Andhra Irrigation Minister Image: Wikimedia Commons/Chaduvari
news Polavaram Project Tuesday, August 06, 2019 - 10:00

Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister Anil Kumar Yadav Poluboina declared on Monday that works in the Polavaram irrigation project will resume from November 1. Speaking to the media, Anil Kumar denounced the opposition’s allegations over the delay in the project and blamed the former Chandrababu Naidu-led TDP government for failing to rehabilitate the families affected by the project. 

“In the first three years of the previous term, hardly any work was done. They could have at least rehabilitated these 3,000 families, it would have just cost them Rs 2,900 crore. If they hadn’t ignored it, these families wouldn’t have been affected so badly by floods now,” Anil Kumar said.   

The minister also said that terminating the contract with Navayuga Engineering Company Limited has not caused any delay in the project. “There has been no scope to continue work in the past few days due to floods. This will continue until October. We will certainly begin work from November 1 definitely after reverse tendering,” he said. 

He added that meanwhile, the government will use this time to address irregularities and corrupt practices in the project. 

He also denied any possibility of the government paying compensation to Navayuga Engineering Company Limited, which was earlier roped in for the project.

“The cement, steel and diesel have all been paid for by the government upfront. Machinery has been leased out. The contract with Navayuga is just a labour contract,” said Anil Kumar, saying there was no reason for providing compensation. 

Commenting on the Centre’s concerns over the termination of the Navayuga contract, Anil Kumar said, “We understand their concerns about cost escalations. The project is funded by the Central government. But we will go for a transparent tendering process with the same base price as in the past. We will try to reduce costs, but there’s no way they will go up.”

He also claimed that the previous government has ignored cost escalation clauses in the past and had kept increasing the costs according to the SSR (Standard Schedule of Rates).

Polavaram, which is estimated to cost Rs 58,000 crore, was declared a national project in 2016. It is designed to bring an area of over seven lakh acres in coastal Andhra under irrigation besides producing 960 MW power, utilising 273,000 million cubic feet or TMC of water currently going into the sea.

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