Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu today spoke to Prime Minister Narendra Modi over phone and thanked him for agreeing to bear 100 per cent cost of the Polavaram multi-purpose project. “I called the Prime Minister on phone this morning. He assured me that the Centre would bear 100 per cent of the Polavaram cost since it has been declared a national project. I thanked him for that,” he told visiting reporters at the Polavaram project site this afternoon.
The Prime Minister also assured Naidu that the Centre would extend financial assistance to AP equivalent to the special category state status. The Centre had last week announced a special financial package for AP which included sharing 100 per cent cost of Polavaram.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, however, had maintained that the Centre’s share would cover only the irrigation component and put the estimates at over Rs 16,000 crore. Though Jaitley did not specify if the Centre would foot the resettlement and rehabilitation bill as well, Naidu said it would cover the R&R component as well, amounting to another Rs 14,000 crore.
Today, Naidu inspected the ongoing works at Polavaram and said his government would make the project a reality by completing the first phase by 2018. “We will not let Polavaram remain a dream. We will make it a reality.”
While a total of 1,049 lakh cubic metres of earthwork was supposed to be done as part of the project construction, 410 lakh cubic meters has been completed so far. “We have imported high-powered machinery to carry out the earthworks. They have already been deployed and some foreign companies have also been involved in the job,” he said.
A 5.5-km spillway and spill channel were being constructed to enable discharge of 50 lakh cusecs of water, the largest in the world. “Godavari had seen a (flood) discharge of 36 lakh cusecs of water in a day. The highest discharge from Krishna was 11 lakh cusecs. So, we have designed Polavaram for a discharge of 50 lakh cusecs,” he said.
The Chief Minister said he would henceforth conduct a virtual inspection of the project works every Monday, using the cameras positioned at the site, and conduct a personal inspection every third Monday of the month to ensure the construction activity went on as planned.