AMARAVATI: Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has requested Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prevail on the ministries of Finance and Jal Shakti to accord investment clearance for the second revised cost estimate of Polavaram irrigation project, amounting to Rs 55,656.87 crore at the 2017-18 price level.
The Chief Minister called it a “communication gap” that resulted in ‘this confusion’ on the cost of the project.
State Water Resources Minister P Anil Kumar Yadav released the letter to the Prime Minister, written by Jagan on October 28, to the media here on Saturday.
“I would like to apprise you on the latest happenings in the execution of Polavaram project and its revised cost estimates leading to an imbroglio and embarrassment which is warranting your kind intervention.
The project, which is programmed to be completed by December 21, can be completed without any hindrance and dedicated to the nation only if the second RCE is approved at the earliest so as to meet all the costs of civil works, land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement (of the project displaced families),” the Chief Minister said in the seven-page letter.
The letter is seen as an SOS after the Department of Expenditure under the Union Ministry of Finance 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.
“This tantamounts to accepting a totally unrealistic cost to complete a national project declared under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014, as per which the Government of India shall bear the entire cost of the project,” the Chief Minister noted in the letter.
He claimed it was also a violation of the APRA enacted by Parliament and the earlier commitments of the Union government.
Jagan pointed out that a sum of Rs 17,656.82 crore of public money had already been spent on the project.
“At this juncture, any unrealistic cost estimate would result in the project remaining incomplete. Even if the civil works are completed, water cannot be stored as land acquisition and rehabilitation and resettlement (R and R)cost for project displaced families would remain not provided for and that would render expenditure done so far unfruitful,” the Chief Minister said.
He said land acquisition and R and R alone would cost Rs 28,191 crore.
“How then is it possible to complete the entire project at a capped cost of Rs 20,398 crore,” Jagan questioned.
“Kindly bear in mind that any further delay would only further increase the cost of the project, which in turn will do no good to the notional interests as it is a national project,” the Chief Minister said.