Polavaram project was pushed into deep uncertainty due to inefficient planning under YSRCP govt: Chandrababu Naidu

Releasing a white paper on the status of the project, Naidu said that Rs 12,157 crore is the likely cost of the completion of the balance works of Phase I of the project.
Last Updated : 28 June 2024, 15:34 IST

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Hyderabad: Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday alleged that the prestigious Polavaram multipurpose project was pushed into deep uncertainty due to changes in the executing agency and improper planning by the previous Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP government.  

The Centre accorded Polavaram project national project status during the state bifurcation 10 years ago, and it is considered the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh.

Releasing a white paper on the status of the project, Naidu said that Rs 12,157 crore is the likely cost of the completion of the balance works of Phase I of the project.

The White Paper said that damage from the previous government's omissions and commissions stands at around Rs 4,900 crore. Delays have added 38 percent of the inflation cost, and the opportunity cost of lost crops and power was pegged at Rs 48,000 crore.

“The first three units of the Polavaram Hydroelectric Project were scheduled to be completed by November 2021. The other six units were to be commissioned within six months thereafter. Non-commissioning of these units has resulted in the non-availability of cheap power to the state and has hence resulted in a loss of more than Rs 3000 crore up to May 2024. This loss will continue to increase as the project's completion is further delayed," he said.

He observed that had the executing agency not been changed and had the project planning been proper, the project would have been completed in time to release water in Kharif 2020.

"Due to inefficient planning and unnecessary changes in the executing agency, the project was rescheduled to be completed by June 2021. Later, the completion schedule was extended to June 2022 and then again to June 2023, putting the project under deep uncertainty,” Naidu added.

Diversion of amount reimbursed to GoAP by GOI

Naidu also said that between 2014 and 2019 during the earlier TDP regime, an expenditure of Rs 11762.47 crore was incurred on this project by the state government, out of which an amount of Rs. 6764.16 crore was reimbursed to the state by the Government of India (GoI) during this period, and an amount of Rs. 4998.31 crore was pending for reimbursement, which was released subsequently after May 31, 2019.

Further, during the period from 2019 to 2024, in the previous YSRCP government regime, the state government incurred an expenditure of Rs. 4996.53 crore, even though the GoI reimbursed an amount of Rs. 8382.11 crore to the state government.

"Thus, an amount of Rs. 3385.58 crore was diverted instead of spending the same on the Polavaram project, thereby starving the project of funds. This has affected the progress of the works of the project and Land Acquisition (LA) and Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R) very badly, as payment of bills for an amount of Rs. 2697 crore is pending as of May 31, 2024. All the executing agencies of the project have practically stopped the work due to the non-payment of their pending bills,” Naidu said.

Only 3.4% of civil works completed between 2019 & 2024

Naidu also said that the progress of the civil works of the project during the period from 2019 to 2024 was only 3.84%.

"In respect of both the right main canal and the left main canal, practically no work was carried out during this period except clearing some pending payments. The works pertaining to the distributary network under the main canals have not yet commenced, and even DPR has not been finalised," Naidu said.

“Under the Land Acquisition (LA) and Rehabilitation and Resettlement (R&R) sectors also, the progress is meagre at 3.89 pc in this period. There was a drastic decrease in budgetary support for the project by the government of AP during 2019–24, when compared to 2014–19. In fact, the expenditure incurred on the project for the work done during the period from 2019–24 was Rs 4167.53 crore. There is also no tangible action regarding resolving disputes with Odisha, Chhattisgarh, and Telangana, getting approval for the 2nd revised cost estimate (at the 2017-18 price  level) etc,” he added.

He further said that, setting aside the advice from Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), the contracts of the executing agencies, namely M/s Navayuga Engineering Company Limited (NECL) and M/s Bekem Infra Projects Private Limited (BEKEM), were pre-closed and terminated, and later the works were awarded to Megha Engineering Infrastructure Ltd. (MEIL) by the Jagan government.

Published 28 June 2024, 15:34 IST

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