BJP demands CBI inquiry into Naidu's pet project

BJP demands CBI inquiry into Naidu's pet project

Strategising to politically isolate TDP chief Nara Chandrababu Naidu, the BJP on Wednesday demanded investigation into his pet project - Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme - built at a cost of Rs 1,300 cr in record time of 302 working days without budget enhancement.

Pattiseema was taken up to bring water to the delta districts till Polavaram project is completed.

BJP legislator Vishnu Kumar Raju and former endowments minister Manikyala Rao, armed with a report by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in AP Assembly, alleged large scale corruption by TDP government and demanded an inquiry either by the CBI or a sitting judge. The CAG report has called the project a "colossal waste of public money" and stated that the project's cost outweighed its benefits.

Reading out highlights of the report, Vishnu Kumar Raju alleged that the government tweaked rules to favour contractors, and wasted Rs 321 crore on the project. "The report says that the TDP government has paid an exorbitant rate of Rs 21,350 to excavate every cubic meter of sand," Raju said, adding that the BJP is not against Pattiseema or Polavaram but has doubts about the way the project has been executed. He even challenged the TDP to resign and seek a fresh mandate.

TDP defends

However, TDP members strongly objected to the allegations and asked why BJP was silent for four years while it was part of the state government and was now demanding inquiry by a federal agency. "Time and again the BJP ministers in the state cabinet attended the meetings on Pattiseema, but they never saw wastage or corruption. All of a sudden you see the need for an inquiry," said state minister K Achan Naidu.

The treasury benches saw a nefarious plan by the national party to trouble Naidu with the help of YSRCP and Janasena Party. "Few months ago central minister Nitin Gadkari visited Pattiseema Project and praised the state government for interlinking two mighty rivers Godavari and Krishna. Now, the BJP under its grandiose plan to gain political mileage in AP is picking holes," Irrigation Minister D Umamaheswara Rao said.