Andhra Pradesh makes forceful plea against Polavaram cost cut
- In a meeting of Polavaram Project Authority in Hyderabad, state delegation led by Special Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Adityanath Das says that estimating the project cost at 2013-14 rates is not acceptable
- Reminds that the state government is only the executing agency of the project and it is the Centre’s responsibility to complete it
Amaravati: The state government on Monday made a forceful plea against cutting down the Polavaram project cost from Rs 55,656 crore to Rs 20,398 crore and asserted that it was the Centre's bounden responsibility to complete it in accordance with the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
AP Special Chief Secretary (Water Resources) Adityanath Das led the state delegation at a meeting of the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) in Hyderabad, where he maintained that estimating the project cost at 2013-14 rates was not acceptable.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of a recent controversy that broke out after the department of expenditure under the Union finance ministry sent an office note to the Polavaram Project Authority, suggesting that the latter accept the revised cost estimate at 2013-14 price level, amounting to just about Rs 20,398.61 crore.
Calling it a "communication gap", Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on October 28, requesting him to personally intervene and prevail upon the Union ministries of finance and Jal Shakti to accord investment clearance for the second revised cost estimate of the Polavaram, amounting to Rs 55,656.87 crore at 2017-18 price level.
"The PPA and the Central Water Commission themselves estimated that over Rs 55,000 crore would be required to complete the Polavaram project.
"But now cutting down the project cost by more than Rs 30,000 crore is certainly not acceptable," the special chief secretary said at Monday's meeting.
As per the second Revised Estimates Committee's recommendation, the Centre should still bear the cost of Rs 47,725 crore on the project.
Das pointed out that Polavaram has been declared as a national project under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014.
"The state government is only the executing agency of the project and it is the Centre's responsibility to complete it," he added.
He also recalled that the Centre agreed to treat the expenditure incurred on the project, prior to 2014, as the state government's share.
Das also said drinking water should also be treated as part of the irrigation component of the project, in tune with the guidelines on national projects.