Work to resume on Nov. 1

Minister for Water Resources P. Anil Kumar on Monday told the Assembly that Polavaram project work would resume on November 1 after the present standoff is cleared and be completed in two years.

Mr. Anil Kumar asserted that the government would go for reverse tendering after identifying lapses in the execution of all projects, including Polavaram, which brought a windfall for some contractors to whom the previous government awarded the works after revising the standard rates in blatant violation of norms.

As a consequence, contractors who were close to TDP leaders benefited to the extent of ₹500 crore. All irregularities would be exposed and the government would recover the money from the culprits, he said.

Mr. Kumar also said the pruning of the cost of Polavaram by the Central government by about ₹3,500 crore vindicated the State government’s stand that the costs were inflated and the entire project was in a mess.

Replying to a question by Rajahmundry rural MLA Gorantla Butchaiah Chowdary (TDP) whether project cost has drastically increased from ₹16,000 crore to ₹55,000 crore, Mr. Anil Kumar said the costs have indeed gone up largely due to the Relief & Rehabilitation (R&R) of 1.01 lakh families, which was perhaps the largest such exercise after the Tehri dam’s R&R component, and partly due to the past government’s ‘corrupt deals’ being probed by a high-level committee.

Of the 1.01 lakh families, the TDP government had rehabilitated only about 4,000 families in five years.

Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy ordered that an IAS officer be deputed to exclusively supervise the R&R and to set up an office for that purpose near the dam site to immediately rehabilitate 25,000 families and expedite the balance later.

Short discussion

Leader of the Opposition N. Chandrababu Naidu said more than one lakh acres were acquired for R&R and that the cost of R&R went up by 11 times over the years.

He demanded that a short discussion be allowed on the project later, which the government accepted.

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