The Union Water Resources Ministry on Wednesday conveyed to the Andhra Pradesh government that changing the contractor for the Polavaram project at this stage, would lead to cost escalation and delay in completion of the work.
This come after reports suggested that Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu was reportedly ‘extremely unhappy’ over the progress of the project by the present company, and demanded its expedition.
“The state government was told that changing the project contractor at this point will lead to cost escalation and delay its implementation…The state was also suggested to support the contractor to see the project is completed on time,” a source told PTI.
Speaking to reporters after a meeting in New Delhi, Union Water Resources Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “They (the state government) want to complete the work by 2019. We will cooperate with them,” he said.
This development also comes days after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to his AP counterpart on October 10, requesting that the construction work of Polavaram be stopped immediately till his state’s concerns were addressed.
“The construction work on the project is going on without any further permission by MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) as per record available with the government of Odisha. No efforts have been made to resolve the issues relating to Odisha,” Patnaik was quoted as saying.
However, when reporters sought the Andhra government’s reaction to the letter, state Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said, “We have all the clearances and we will go ahead with the construction. We want to complete the project by 2019. Our opposition parties have been trying hard to get the project stalled but we will not let them succeed.”
Though conceptually proposed in 1941, and taken a little further by former Chief Minister T Anjaiah, it was during the term of YS Rajasekhara Reddy that the project began gathering steam.
At present, Naidu has reiterated that the state would complete the project before the 2019 elections.
Polavaram Project, a multi-purpose irrigation project, has an assessed command area of 2.91 lakh hectares and power generation potential of 960 MW. It was declared a national project in 2014.