Andhra to rope in international experts to assess Polavaram's status: CM Naidu


by IANS | Sat, Jun 29, 2024, 11:21 AM

Amaravati, June 28 (IANS) Blaming his predecessor Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy for jeopardising the Polavaram project during the last five years, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu on Friday said his government would rope in international experts to assess the project's current status.

Releasing a White Paper on Polavaram, billed as the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh, he said the government would also take the help of experts from IITs, the Central Water Commission, and the Central government to overcome the challenges.

Completing Polavaram, being built across the Godavari River, is one of the two priorities set by Naidu, who is leading the National Democratic Alliance government in the state. His other priority is completing the development of the state capital Amaravati, which had come to a halt during the YSR Congress rule.

The Chief Minister alleged that Jagan Mohan Reddy betrayed the state by destroying Polavaram and its diaphragm wall was damaged due to "his stupid decisions".

Naidu stated that Jagan Mohan Reddy's "incompetence, arrogance and audacity" put the survival of the project in jeopardy.

"They made false promises that they would complete Polavaram by hiding the facts," he said. Naidu claimed that while 72 per cent of the work was completed during the earlier TDP regime, and the YSRCP government did only 3.84 per cent.

Stating that the White Paper was released to enlighten the people with the facts, Naidu said that one feels pain and anguish when looking at the Polavaram project's plight.

Making a PowerPoint presentation, he voiced concern over significant changes in the geographical conditions of the project.

He pledged collective efforts towards the state's reconstruction and announced plans to release White Papers on seven major issues damaged under the YSRCP regime within 25 days.

Terming Jagan Mohan Reddy a curse for Polavaram, Naidu termed his action as an unforgivable crime against the state as he outlined the potential benefits of the project, including irrigation of 7.2 lakh acres and stabilisation of 23.50 lakh acres, along with an abundant water supply for industries. He highlighted achievements during the TDP regime, such as setting a Guinness record by completing 32,315 cubic metres of concrete work in a single day.

The Chief Minister cited his extensive field visits to the Polavaram project site, totalling 31 inspections. He said that during the tenure of the TDP regime, an amount of Rs 11,762.47 crore was spent on Polavaram, whereas under the YSRCP government, only Rs 4,167 crore were allocated, which he attributed to Jagan Mohan Reddy's incompetence and ego-driven decisions. He attributed significant damages at the Polavaram project site, including to the diaphragm wall and cofferdams, to Jagan Mohan Reddy's "negligent governance approach".

According to an expert committee appointed by NITI Aayog to review the project, these damages were reportedly a result of inefficient planning by the government under Jagan Mohan Reddy.

Naidu also alleged that the YSRCP government diverted Rs 3,385 crore of Central funds allocated for Polavaram, and expressed concern over the financial repercussions of these delays, citing a loss exceeding Rs 3,000 crore due to the project's delayed completion by 2020, as originally planned. He further highlighted that repair works necessitated by these delays are projected to cost Rs 4,900 crore, contributing to a significant 38 per cent increase in the project's overall expenses.

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