The Bharatiya Janata Party leaders are getting ready to expose the corruption they find in the prestigious Polavaram Project, when Union Minister Nitin Gadkari visits the project on July 11.
The BJP leaders who have visited the project a fortnight ago and made several allegations against the State government in the project implementation are now getting the facts ready in support of their allegations. The BJP leaders find a large-scale bungling of funds in the project construction works, land acquisition and the resettlement and rehabilitation packages. The leaders are more particular in accusing the State government of resorting to huge corruption in the resettlement and rehabilitation besides the land acquisition.
The State government had increased the project cost from initial Rs 16,000 crore to Rs 58,000 crore of which Rs 35,000 crore is only for resettlement and rehabilitation besides the land acquisition. The TDP leaders say that the expenditure had gone up several times because of the new land acquisition Act of 2013. However, the BJP leaders are not prepared to buy these lies and see large-scale misuse of funds in the name of the project.
Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is focusing more on the project this time and had taken over the project execution task from the Central government. He is closely monitoring the project work holding a review meeting on every Monday. It is this interest in him that gives scope for his critics to make corruption charges as he did not even look at the project file during his first tenure from 1995 to 2004, despite people and parties raising hue and cry. It was only the Congress government in 2004 headed by late Y S Rajasekhar Reddy that took up the project and secured all clearances from the Central government. The Congress government too had completed almost 80 per cent of the canal works on both sides of the project and had completed 60 per cent of the land acquisition.
Now, Chandrababu Naidu, this time took over the construction of the project, though it was the total responsibility of the Central government. Ignoring the fact that the State is running on external borrowings as the exchequer is having more than Rs 16,000 crore deficit, Chandrababu Naidu is advancing the money for the Polavaram project. It is said that the State government is paying a little more than Rs 300 crore per month towards the rate of interest on the money advanced for the Polavaram project from its borrowings.
This initiative of Chandrababu Naidu is giving scope for his critics to smell a rat in the entire work, where the estimates have gone up alarmingly over the years. It is to be seen how the BJP leaders will make use of this visit of Gadkari to point an accusing finger at Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP leadership.