Polavaram Project : Centre mum on additional costs

Polavaram Project
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Polavaram Project

Highlights

  • To a question by MP Vijayasai Reddy on whether the Centre will reimburse the cost escalation due to the design changes effected to the project head works, the Union Jal Shakti Minister stresses that the Centre will only reimburse 100 per cent of irrigation component
  • The State govt at the time of revision of the cost, said the Dam Designs Review Panel inspected the project in March, 2021 and suggested certain changes to the designs

New Delhi: Polavaram irrigation project took another blow here on Monday with the Centre categorically reiterating that it would only reimburse 100 per cent of the irrigation component as approved in 2014, but choosing to remain silent on the cost escalation due to the design changes vetted by the Central Water Commission (CWS).

These changes have been made to the Polavaram head works at the cost of Rs 1,657 crore. The Centre has refused to clarify whether it would reimburse the cost escalation of the Polavaram project due to changes made by the CWC to the designs of Polavaram head works.

This only means that the state will have to shell out the cost on its own.

The state government had, at the time of revision of the cost, maintained that the Dam Designs Review Panel (DDRP) headed by former CWC chairman AB Pandya had inspected the project in March, 2021 and suggested certain changes to the designs keeping in view the safety of the project.

It had also suggested changes to already approved designs of several works, including the construction of earth dam gaps I & III, earth-cum-rock fill dam for gap-II, spill channel, approach channel and pilot channel.

The committee had also recommended taking up construction of the spillway with a crest level +25.72, its ancillary works and excavation of the foundations of 960 mw hydroelectric power house, approach channel, intake structure, tailrace pool and tailrace channel.

In 2016, the administrative approval was accorded for Rs 5,535.41 crore while the revised cost stood at Rs 7,192.02 crore. The entire cost falls under the revised estimates approved by the CWC.

The issue was raised in the Rajya Sabha here on Monday by YSRCP Parliamentary Party Leader V Vijayasai Reddy. Seeking to know whether the Centre would be reimbursing the cost escalation due to the design changes effected to the project head works, he asked the Union minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, for clarification on the same.

In reply, the Jal Shakti minister reiterated that the implementation of the project including the planning and design of its various components, was being done by the AP government. However, approval/vetting of the designs was being done by the Central Water Commission, to reaffirm their conformity with the relevant codal provisions as well as with the provisions of Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal Award, 1980.

Hence, "as informed by the Government of AP, vetting by CWC has led to changes in design of some components of the project, including height of the upstream and downstream cofferdams, depth of foundations, grades of concrete spillway in deep blocks, diaphragm wall cutoff for the left side of upstream cofferdam, chipping in gate grooves, stop log gates grooves, second stage concreting in spillway, etc.,"

The Union minister added but remained silent on the reimbursement. He only reiterated that the Centre was providing 100 per cent reimbursement of the remaining cost of the irrigation component of the project.

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