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Polavaram project used up max funds, no money left for other flagship schemes: AP irrigation minister

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Vijayawada, May 28 (PTI) The Andhra Pradesh government today claimed it had no money left to spend on its flagship schemes as maximum funds had been squandered on the Polavaram irrigation project and held the Centre’s “non-cooperative” attitude responsible for the situation.

Andhra Pradesh Irrigation Minister D Uma Maheswara Rao told PTI that the Centre had declared Polavaram a “national project” and had promised to bear the construction cost “for the period starting from April 1, 2014”.

“Around Rs 13,460 crore has been spent on the project since its inception. The Andhra Pradesh government had already incurred an expenditure of Rs 5,135 crore before Polavaram was declared a national project in 2014.

“The state spent additional Rs 8,330 crore on it up to April 2018. The Centre has so far released Rs 5,342 crore to the AP government. It is yet to reimburse Rs 2,988 crore (calculated since 2014),” he said.

“The state government is providing the maximum share of funds for the payments of the Polavaram irrigation project. As a result, it has become very difficult to handle the payments of other falgship programmes,” he said.

Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu had yesterday said his government would leave no stone unturned to complete the project by December 2019 and had denounced the Centre’s “non-cooperative” attitude towards it.

Meanwhile, Ramesh Babu, the Superintending Engineer of the Polavaram project, said that “rehabilitation of the affected families is the main roadblock in the construction work” as the exercise would require around Rs 33,000 crore.

“If the Centre releases the money needed for this purpose, I am sure the project work will be completed by 2019,” he said.

On a plea moved before the National Green Tribunal, alleging that a diaphragm wall at the Polavaram dam would have a “devastating effect” on the marine life and the fishermen in the area, he said, “We have not stopped the water. It continue to flows smoothly. There is no cause of concern.”

“The diaphragm wall will be cut to the level of the riverbed or half a metre below it. The diaphragm wall is not above the water wall (riverbed).

“During the construction of the diaphragm wall, the water is being diverted through a culvert,” he said.

A bench headed by acting NGT Chairperson Justice Jawad Rahim today issued notices to the Polavaram Project Authority, the Union Environment Ministry, Inter-Ministerial Monitoring Committee, Central Inland Fisheries Institute, Andhra Pradesh, District Collector of West Godavari and others seeking their replies to the plea before July 31.

Polavaram is a multi-purpose irrigation project being constructed on the Godavari near Ramayyapet village in West Godavari district.

The Andhra Pradesh government says the project is a “one-stop solution for all the water needs of the state”.

The Polavaram dam can help divert surplus Godavari water to the Krishna and other rivers, benefitting people in the water-deficient areas of the state, Babu said. PTI GVS TIR

TIR

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by BW staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.


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