Union Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Nitin Gadkari visited the Polavaram Dam in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday evening where he saw the physical progress of the project.
Gadkari was accompanied by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu at the site. This is the first time that a Central minister is meeting Naidu after the severance of the ties between the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP).
After the tour of the site, Naidu and Gadkari addressed reporters during which the Andhra Pradesh CM informed the Union Minister of the problems the project is facing.
“We are having the problem of finances. We are having another problem with DPR. I request the minister to give me advance if possible pending clearance of Detailed Project Report (DPR) 2,” said Naidu.
He also requested the Union Minister of taking note of the concerns of farmers in the region. Naidu said that all farmers are tribals and their wishes have to be fulfilled.
Gadkari, who had visited the Polavaram Dam site in the first week of October last year, said that the project can give a new lease of life to farmers of Andhra Pradesh.
“Our government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed towards completion of this project. There is remarkable progress in the project, its moving fast,” noted Gadkari.
“Central government is keen on completion of the project and whatever funds are needed for the project, we will give them. We don’t want to mix developmental activities and politics,” he told Naidu.
Gadkari also requested that the project be completed before his scheduled visit at Polavaram in first week of March.
The Polavaram project, declared by the Centre as a national project, has been at the centre of a row between the BJP and the TDP.
According to reports, the state government says that the total expenditure of the project as of now has stands at Rs 13,798 crore.
After declaring it as a national project, an amount of Rs 8662 crore had been spent on the project by end of May. Out of this, an amount of Rs 6,727 crore has been reimbursed by the government of India. Balance amount of Rs 1,935 crore spent by the state funds is still pending.
On 25 June, Chandrababu Naidu wrote a letter to Gadkari seeking reimbursement of Rs 431 crore balance to the state and an additional Rs 1504 crore excess amount of the project cost as per the 2013-14 cost estimates.
Gadkari is on a three-day official visit to Andhra Pradesh. He will be in Vishakhapatnam on the 12 and 13 July, where he will hold an extensive, two-day meeting to review the progress of the ongoing projects of all major ports and inland waterways in the country.
The Union Minister will lay the foundation stone for several National Highways and Port Connectivity projects in Andhra Pradesh worth Rs 6,688 crores in a function in Vishakhapatnam on 13 July. In addition, he will also inaugurate port projects worth Rs 1,062 crores the same day.