After four years of married life and a less than fortnight long live-in relationship, the break up is over and it is fighting time for both the TDP and BJP. As we have been saying that it is not going to be as easy to face BJP as it has been facing the YSR Congress, the BJP had come forward hitting hard at the TDP right in the Assembly.
BJP floor leader P Vishnukumar Raju, strongly backed by former minister P Manikyala Rao, made scathing attack on the TDP. The BJP took up the CAG report on the Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme to hit at the TDP. Pattiseema lift scheme was planned by the TDP to bring Godavari water to Krishna using the Left canal of the Polavaram Project, which was 80 per cent completed by late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy. Though the canal was planned to bring 80 tmcft of water from Polavaram to Krishna at Prakasam Barrage and give the same quantity of water to Rayalaseema from Pothireddipadu, the TDP government brought in the Pattiseema scheme as an interim arrangement.
There was strong opposition for this lift scheme and farmers and some engineers have advised the government to use the same money to advance the Polavaram Project works or to complete the pending projects like Handri-Neeva, Galeru-Nagari. But, the government went ahead with hits pet project. It was initially planned for Rs 1170 crore with 30 pumps and 30 motors. Later, the project cost was escalated to a little over Rs 1800 crore and brought down the number of pumps and motors to 24. The project was completed in six months against the original schedule of 12 months. The government had paid excess amount of over Rs 370 crore to the contractor.
The CAG had raised objections to this price escalation while reducing the motors and pumps from original 30 to 24. The BJP took this report to hit at the TDP. In reply to the charges, the TDP sought to blame the BJP for following the YSR Congress. The TDP did not answer the questions and did not make an attempt to justify the contentious issue of number of pumps and motors and the price escalation. The CAG, according to the BJP leaders, had also questioned this and there was no answer from the government.
It is not just the Pattiseema project alone where the CAG saw unjustified expenditure by the government. There are several other projects like the Purushothapatnam on the right canal of the Polavaram project that would take Godavari water to Visakhapatnam and the Chintalapudi lift irrigation scheme that would give Godavari water to the Nagarjuna Sagar Left canal in Zone III covering Jaggaiahpet, Nandigama, Tiruvur, Mylavaram, Nuzvid and Gannavaram Assembly constituency areas.
The TDP has to answer the corruption charges now and justify its huge spending on these projects and the links that it has with the contractors. Till then, the BJP would take on the TDP and keep hitting it, which might bring down its image in the public.