The Andhra Pradesh government has sought reimbursement of Rs 2,033 crore from the Centre for work completed at the Polavaram project, which is at a crucial stage of construction. Officials said bills have been pending for six months.
With the completion of the Gap 3 dam – a concrete dam interconnecting the spillway with the main Earth Cum Rockfill (ECRF) dam – water for irrigation will be released for the first time to canals next kharif season, marking a major milestone in the project.
The reimbursement from the Centre is needed to take up land acquisition, R&R, and complete other project-associated work like irrigation canals, officials said.
Water Resources Minister Anil Kumar Yadav said they were following up with the Ministry of Jal Shakti to get the pending bills cleared on time. The bills have to be approved by Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) and Central Water Commission (CWC), before the Union Ministry of Finance (MoF) gives its clearance for payment. The Centre has so far reimbursed Rs 11,181.36 crore to the Andhra Pradesh government for the Polavaram project, including expenditure towards land acquisition and Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R), after according it the status of a ‘National Project’ from April 2014.
While construction of the Gap 3 dam – the only concrete component of the ECRF dam – is complete, officials said they will complete work on the lower cofferdam by November and begin work on the main ECRF dam once the flood waters recede. The deadline to complete the right and left main canals is June next year. Once the dam is ready, water will flow by gravity through the two main canals. The right bank canal will take water up to Visakhapatnam from where it would be pumped to Srikakulam in North Andhra. The left bank canal will take water to Prakasam barrage at Vijayawada, from where it will be pumped towards the Rayalaseema region.
Yadav said the work was being carried out as per schedule. “To speed up the rehabilitation of Polavaram Project-affected families, we are recruiting more people in the R&R department. Land acquisition to build resettlement colonies is also going on. We have also undertaken 58 irrigation projects at a cost of Rs 14,750 crore,” he said.