Tirupati: The previous TDP administration, the BJP-led Centre and the new YSRCP governments are responsible for the delay in completing the much-needed multi-crore Polavaram irrigation project, said AICC secretary and former MLC Gidugu Rudra Raju, leading to a sharp rise in project costs. The Congress leader, speaking to the media here on Friday, accused the three parties of playing hide and seeking for their vested interests unmindful of adverse effects on the state that is in desperate need of completing the project early to take the state that suffered because of bifurcation back on the path of growth. Gidugu Rudra Raju said that for the sake of commissions, the previous TDP government saw the Centre hand over the execution of the project to the state government, while Congress, on its part, proclaimed Polavaram as a national project in the bifurcation statute, making it the Centre's duty to complete it.
Unfortunately, because of its soft approach to the Centre, the YSRCP is also following the TDP government's footsteps in delaying the project, he added. Due to the delay, the cost of the project has now risen to Rs 50,000 crore, but the Centre maintains that it would only pay the projected cost of the project in 2013-14, which would only be half of the current cost of the project, he said cautioning the state against budgeting the Centre on the cost issue as it would be an intolerable burden for the state people. Accusing the YSRCP government of keeping people fully dark with regard to the status of the project, he said the project website had not been updated since January 2019, but after YSRCP came to power, 11 Polavaram Project Authority meetings were held.
The meetings of the Dam Construction Committee and even the specifics of the Expert Committee meeting were also purposely not put on the website, he claimed. He called on the state government to take an all-party delegation to Delhi to press the Centre to bear the total expense, including the rehabilitation of displaced people and the early release of funds before the rainy season for the completion of the main dam and copper dam by June 2021. The Congress leader made it clear in the same breath that if the Centre causes any pressure on the state or the YSRCP further delays the project as it will eventually affect the citizens, the party would not remain silent. AICC member K Pramila, APCC General Secretary D Rambhupal Reddy and Penubala Senior Leader Chandra Sekhar were present.