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Is Modi govt playing fraud on Polavaram?

Is Modi govt playing fraud on Polavaram?

If the report that appeared in a section of media on Thursday that the Narendra Modi government has drastically cut down the cost of Polavaram major irrigation project on Godavari river as per the 2013-14 estimates is true, it is a rude shock to the Andhra Pradesh government.

According to these reports, the Union finance ministry had finalized the cost of Polavaram project to just Rs 20,398 crore as per 2013-14 figures, as against the revised cost estimates of Rs 55,548.87 crore projected by the state government in view of the huge increase in the cost of rehabilitation and resettlement package to be given to the project evacuees.

Though the Centre had given in principle approval to the revised project cost after YSR Congress party led by Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy came to power, it later changed its mind and after raising a lot of queries, the Union finance ministry cut it down to Rs 47,725.24 crore, reducing the quantum of R&R package.

Now, the Centre has changed its tune once again. According to media reports, it has put forth a fresh argument that it would approve the project cost only as per 2013-14 estimates made by the UPA government, which is around Rs 20,398.61 crore.

According to official figures, the government had spent Rs 4,730.71 crore by the end of financial year 2013-2014, after which it had become a national project. So, the Centre would be bearing the remaining 15,667.90 crore. Between 2014 and 2020, the Centre released an amount of Rs 8,614.16 crore through NABARD.

So, the state would now get only Rs 7,053.74 crore, which is not sufficient even for completing the irrigation component. The previous Chandrababu Naidu government had hardly spent any money on rehabilitation of evacuees. If what the news report says is right, the Jagan government will have to face heavy financial burden for R&R package!

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