The Polavaram project on Godavari River has been a long pending dream of the people. It was initially conceived in 1942, when this part of the State was under the Madras Presidency. Since then, the successive governments have been talking about it and the farmers have been fighting for it. Decades have passed, the project remained a distant dream until late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy, the then Chief Minister of the undivided State started the work in 2004. Though foundation stone was laid by the then chief minister Tanguturi Anjaiah in 1980, the project work did not move an inch from there till 2004.
Rajasekhar Reddy government had executed 90 per cent of the work on the Right Main Canal and Left Main Canal for the project and had secured 95 per cent of the Central government clearances including the environmental clearance during his period for the project. He had also convinced the Odisha government on submerging areas in the backwaters of the project.
Though Chandrababu Naidu was the Chief Minister from 1995 to 2004, he did not touch this project, for which foundation stone was laid in 1980. His priorities were IT and promotion of private sectors, which he continued from Nedurumalli Janaradhana Reddy as Chief Minister, who issued permission for 30 engineering colleges and laid foundation stone for the IT tower in Madhapur in Hyderabad. Chandrababu Naidu’s inspiration was the liberalisation policies of Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao and his Finance Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.
However, after returning to power in 2014, after a gap of 10 years, Chandrababu Naidu saw better vote catching source in the Polavaram project, particularly with the Central government giving it a national project status. This time, along with the Polavaram Project, Chandrababu Naidu laid his hands on the irrigation projects, inspired by the Jala Yagnam of late Rajasekhar Reddy. What he blamed Rajasekhar Reddy in the Jala Yagnam is what he is receiving now from the Opposition, particularly by increasing the estimated cost of every irrigation project, benefiting the contractors.
This government had completed the construction of the diaphragm wall of the project, a key work in the total design of the project that remains 94 meters deep from the river bed. The cement concrete diaphragm wall plays key role in terms of the strength of the project and its reservoir. The dam is built on this concrete wall which will have gates to release surplus water or even for power generation, which is also part of the project.
Chandrababu Naidu had organised an event to mark the completion of the construction of diaphragm wall. Of course, Naidu had organised several events in Polavaram in the last three years. This was no different from the previous events. However, this project is going to be the party of his twin slogans for the 2019 elections along with Amaravati city. Chandrababu Naidu will be fighting the 2019 elections on his success in Polavaram and Amaravati and targeting BJP and YSR Congress.