After BJP leaders visit Polavaram, Gadkari clears his tour

It was almost a fortnight ago that the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders from Andhra Pradesh visited the Polavaram Project site for a physical inspection of the progress of the works. While the State government claims to have completed 56 per cent of the project work, the BJP leaders saw huge corruption in the project works.

BJP leaders Daggubati Purandheswari, Kavuri Sambasiva Rao, Gokaraju Gangaraju, P Vishnukumar Raju, Akula Satyanarayana, Somu Veerraju, P V N Madhav and others led by party AP unit chief Kanna Lakshminarayana visited the project site. Water Resources engineer-in-chief M Venkateswara Rao had briefed the BJP leaders on the progress of the project works. The BJP leaders inspected the project site, looked at the speed of the works and also interacted with the contractors.

Later, the BJP leaders made several allegations against the project, including the payment for the land acquisition and the expenditure for the rehabilitation and resettlement. The State government claims more than Rs 35,000 crore for land acquisition and the rehabilitation and resettlement package under the new Land Acquisition Act 2013. The BJP leaders have their own reasons to raise doubts over the claims of the government under this package.

It is said that the BJP leaders have sent their report on the project to the Union Minister who had finally set July 11 for his next visit. Earlier in December 2017, Gadkari said that he would visit the project site once in every fortnight and monitor the work. However, it did not happen till date. The last time he visited the project site was on October 3. Since then he did not turn up to the project site but had held a couple of reviews on the project.

There is a wide gap between the State government on the money spent for the project and the Central government accepting the expenditure claims. The dispute is mostly on the payment for the land acquisition and the rehabilitation and resettlement of the displaced families. The State government claims this amount at Rs 38,000 crore, while the project cost remains at Rs 16,000 crore, making a total of Rs 54,000 crore.

In the light of the BJP leaders allegations, it is to be seen how Gadkari would see the project works when he visits the site and reviews the progress on July 11.

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