Ignoring Centre’s advice, Andhra issues multi-crore tenders for Polavaram project

Costing Rs 58,000 cr, this irrigation scheme is project on Godavari River, it’s one of the most expensive ever undertaken by state.

New Delhi: The Jagan Mohan Reddy ruled Andhra Pradesh government has issued notifications for Rs 4,900 crore worth of tenders for projects linked to the multi-crore Polavaram irrigation scheme, despite a letter from the centre advising against it and expressing concern over increased costs and delays to the project. The notifications have been issued for a hydel project worth Rs. 3,100 crore and a headworks project worth Rs. 1,800 crore, reported NDTV.

Costing close to Rs 58,000 crores, the Polavaram irrigation scheme is a mega project on the Godavari River and is one of the most expensive ever undertaken by any state alone. This project’s costs will be borne by the centre, because of the national status given to it as part of the AP Reorganisation Act.

Last week after an emergency meeting of the Union Water Resources Ministry in Hyderabad, RK Jain, CEO of the Polavaram Project Authority wrote to the Special Chief Secretary in the Andhra irrigation department, directing the government to stay re-tendering as it could lead to increased costs and delay benefits accruing to the people, reported NDTV.

"There is neither enough ground nor any necessity for pre-closure of tenders and retendering of project works. Such a decision will plunge the project into uncertainty," Jain reportedly said in his letter.

YSR Congress Party, led by Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy, which swept to power in Assembly polls held in April, had earlier cancelled a contract to Navayuga Engineering Limited for the Polavaram Project after an eight-member government-constituted committee submitted a report last month.

In its 43-page report, the committee declared there were problems in the tendering process for engineering, procurement and construction works, and that Navayuga had been paid Rs. 3,128 crore in violation of prescribed norms.

Andhra irrigation and water resources minister Anil Kumar Yadav has claimed procedures followed by the previous government - led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief N Chandrababu Naidu - were flawed since they allotted work on nomination basis.

"We will save crores of public money with this reverse tendering," he claimed, insisting that formalities would be completed by the time work begins on November 1.

The finalised costs are now expected to bring down expenditure by 14 per cent.

The centre has repeatedly opposed the Andhra government's decision to re-tender these projects. Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekawat said in parliament that the decision would further delay the project.

Chief Minister Jagan Reddy is currently in the US and is expected to return on August 24.

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