Budget 2016: No future for Polavaram?

Union Budget allots just Rs 100 crore for the project.

Hyderabad: Going by this year’s Budgetary allocation to the Polavaram project, considered the lifeline of AP, it would take around 300, not three years as claimed by Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, to complete it.

Mr Naidu had often said that the project would be completed by 2018, but the Centre apparently doesn’t share his enthusiasm, having allotted Rs 100 crore.

Centre has declared the Polavaram project a National Project, meeting one of the promises made in the AP Reorganisation Act. Recently, the state government increased the estimates of the project to Rs 36,000 crore from Rs 16,000 crore and had requested the Centre to allot at least Rs 4,000 crore to the project in this year’s Budget.

The Rs 100 crore announced by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley was a repeat of his last year’s allocation.

The allocation is in stark contrast to the Congress government, which had spent about Rs 5,000 crore on the Project. After the TD came to power, it concentrated on the Pattiseema project to interlink Rivers Krishna and Godavari, spending about Rs 2,500 crore while Rs 300 crore was spent on Polavaram. The state government said that the expenditure incurred on Pattiseema was part of the Polavaram expenditure and the Centre was requested to reimburse Rs 2,500 crore.

However, the Centre refused to buy this argument, making it clear that Pattiseema project was not a part of Polavaram but a separate project.

It also said that unless the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) certified the expenditure, it would not sanction the funds.

Recently, the Centre released Rs 300 crore for the Polavaram Project, but the funds would not reach the state government directly. They went to the PPA, which would release them to the state government after it is satisfied about the expenditure on Polavaram project.

The state government said that even though the Centre has allotted only Rs 100 crore for Polavaram in the Budget, it is optimistic that that the money it spends on the project will be reimbursed by the Union government.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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