Vijayawada: In a major setback to the YSR Congress government, the AP High Court on Thursday issued an interim order suspending APGenco’s order to pre-close the contract agreement with Navayuga Engineering Company for execution of the hydroelectric component of the Polavaram project. The court also stayed the reverse tendering process initiated by the government to call for fresh bids to take up execution of the project.
High Court judge Justice D.V.S.S. Somayajulu issued the interim orders on petitions moved by Navayuga challeging the notification issued by APGenco on August 14.
Navayuga stated that though it was given time until November 2021 to execute the power project, APGenco had annulled the agreement even before completion of the given time.
The government justified its act of opting for reverse tendering of the Polavaram hydro-electric project, saying it was done to save public money.
Water resources minister P. Anil Kumar Yadav said Navayuga Engineering Company had itself admitted that it did not have the exposure to hydro-electric power projects and failed to execute the work as per schedule. The government had submitted the facts to the court, he said.
The government had told the court that they had opted for reverse tendering process only in the interest of the general public. He said there may have been procedural lapses in filing the government’s reply on the issue which resulted in the court’s interim order.
Reacting to the court decision, former chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu slammed the state government for taking decisions on the Polavaram project in haste without taking into consideration their implication on execution of the project work. He feared that the HC’s interim order would affect the execution of head works of the Polavaram project as the state government was going for reverse tendering by opting for pre-closure of contract agreement with Navayuga.
Mr Naidu said that even though the Centre and the Polavaram Project Authority had advised the government against reverse tendering for the Polavaram head works as it would delay the project and escalate the cost, the state government was going ahead by pre-closing the agreement for both the head works and as well as the hydroelectric power project by alleging irregularities. He feared that once the project was exposed to the legal process, execution would be affected.
BJP leader Lanka Dinakar said that court order was a slap on the face of the YSRC government. He condemned the government’s unilateral decision by opting for reverse tendering. As it was a national project, the Centre’s consent was mandatory, he said.