Jagan Reddy Caused More Damage Than Andhra Bifurcation: Chandrababu Naidu

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Friday alleged that the state suffered bigger damage under the previous YS Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSRCP government than the bifurcation of united Andhra Pradesh, citing the case of the Polavaram Project.

He claimed that the project which was completed up to 72 per cent under his regime between 2014 and 2019 had only witnessed four per cent progress in civil works in the last five years under the YSRCP government.

“We all have the anguish that we (state) suffered immensely due to the bifurcation but more than that loss, the devastation caused by Jagan between 2019 and 2024 turned into a curse for the state,” said Naidu, releasing a white paper on the Polavaram Project at the Secretariat.

According to the CM, the mega irrigation project can store 194 tmc water, enable the utilisation of 322 tmc water, irrigate 7.2 lakh acres, offer drinking water to 28.5 lakh people and generate 960 MW of hydropower.

Saving about 500 tmc to 700 tmc Godavari river waters draining into the sea using the project and supplementing them with the existing water resources available across the state will obviate the scope for famine, said Naidu.

The CM observed that the earlier TDP regime had spent Rs 11,762 crore and asserted that the YSRCP government had expended only Rs 4,167 crore on the project.

He highlighted that his predecessor had crippled the project mid-way by replacing existing contractors, resulting in cost and time overrun.

Sharing the details of the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) meeting held on August 13, 2019, Naidu said Reddy had gone ahead disregarding PPA’s recommendations not to replace the contractors.

Calling the YSRCP government a “blind political dispensation”, Naidu noted that the diaphragm wall which got damaged in the 2020 floods had come to the YSRCP government’s notice only after two years.

Built at a cost of Rs 436 crore in 2018, the diaphragm wall’s repairs will require Rs 447 crore now, he said, adding that a new one will impose a financial burden of Rs 990 crore, among other cost overruns.

Further, he noted that the crucial height of the project has been reduced from 45.72 metres to 41.15 metres. However, he asserted that there is no compromise with the original height as it is crucial for hydropower generation.

He alleged that the YSRCP government had diverted Rs 3,385 crore Central Government funds meant for the project, among other irregularities.

Alleging that the project suffered bigger damage than what is publicly known, Naidu said the first priority is to resolve the issues plaguing the coffer dam, diaphragm wall, guide bund and others, following which the main works will be taken up.

He said the Centre has invited international experts from the US and Canada to sit at the project for 10 days a month to offer their recommendations to salvage the damaged portions.

Moreover, Naidu said the state government will gather ideas from the public and go ahead with help from the Centre and overcome all the hurdles.

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