The Andhra Pradesh government on Monday said that the height of Polavaram dam will not be reduced, and that the project would be completed next year.
Opposition Telugu Desam Party had earlier alleged that the YSR Congress Party-led government buckled under pressure from neighbouring Telangana to reduce the height of the dam.
However, AP Water Resources Minister Anil Kumar Yadav brushed aside the allegations and said on Monday: “We have affirmed that there will not be any reduction in height of the project and the project will be completed on time… Not an inch of the height of Polavaram project will be reduced. It will be ready by December 2021.”
Yadav also accused TDP leaders of “planting reports and propagating false news through their friendly media to divert the people’s attention”.
Behind Oppn charge over dam height
Opposition TDP accuses the AP government under Y S Jaganmohan Reddy to reduce the height of Polavaram project from 45.72 metres to 41.15 metres. for “short-term political gains” without foreseeing future problems. The reduction of dam height has been proposed with an eye on decreasing the burden of compensation package to the project's evacuees “from Rs 27,000 crore to Rs 3,500 crore”, the party has claimed.
The minister said that the state government is also focussed on relief and rehabilitation (R&R) package rather than just constructing the dam. “The previous TDP government had neglected the R&R package and concentrated on contracts and commission. It was more focused on kickbacks,” he alleged. “The TDP has never reached out to a single house (displaced household) for rehabilitation and is now speaking of the R&R package.”
Besides the Polavaram R&R, Yadav said, the YSRCP government is also committed towards completing the rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by irrigation projects at Gandikota in Kadapa district and Veloginda in Prakasam. The state government has spent Rs 950 crore towards R&R package for the Gandikota project and Rs 1,200 crore for R&R in Veligonda project, he said.
All R&R packages are being undertaken in a phased manner, and Opposition leaders have no moral right to speak on these packages, Yadav said. By March next year, 20,000 houses will be distributed to those displaced as part of the Polavaram project, he maintained.
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