Raghuveera challenges AP CM to open debate on irrigation projects

Dara Gopi

Amaravati: Andhra Pradesh Congress president N Raghuveera Reddy on Sunday dashed off an open letter to Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu asking him to come for an open debate on the irrigation projects in the State.

The APCC chief accused the Chief Minister of making tall claims on irrigation projects including the prestigious Polavaram, which were all started by the previous Congress government. He said that the Congress that had come to power in 2004 under the leadership of late Dr Y S Rajasekhar Reddy had initiated 91 irrigation projects, including 45 pending projects, under Jalayagnam scheme. The Polavaram project too was started by the Congress government, he said and sought to remind the Chief Minister that Polavaram was made a national project and included in the AP Reorganisation Act 2013.

The Congress leader further said that Dr Rajasekhar Reddy government had even organized open discussions on the irrigation projects at 43 places in which the TDP legislator and former Chief Engineer of the Irrigation Department Maruti participated and debated against the government. He further said that the Assembly had debated the irrigation projects issue for 13 days and at the end as Leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu had admitted that he had quoted wrong figures only to fix the government. However, he said that the Congress had never tried to make false allegations or misused the valuable time of the Assembly for political mileage as TDP did in the past.

Raghuveera Reddy said that the Chandrababu Naidu government had increased the cost estimates of several irrigation projects to benefit the TDP leaders who have won the contract and executing the works. The enhanced cost had gone into the pockets of the TDP leaders, including Chandrababu Naidu, from the State exchequer, he alleged. He further accused the Chief Minister of earning around Rs 40,000 crores from various irrigation projects that were initiated by the Congress government. a�?You are only inaugurating the projects that were started by the Congress and making tall claims,a�? the Congress leader said in his open letter.

The APCC president asked Chandrababu Naidu to name at least one irrigation project that was planned and completed by him in the last two years or in his previous term from 1995 to 2004. He said that the present government had increased the estimated cost of the Polavaram Project from Rs 16,000 crores to Rs 40,000 crores. Similarly, the Handri-Neeva project balance works estimates were increased from Rs 6,850 crores to Rs 11,386 crores and Galeru-Nagari from Rs 3,987 crores to Rs 7,986 crores after you formed the government. In north Andhra, the balance works estimates for Vamsadhara project were increased from Rs 745 crores to 1,668 crores and Gundlakamma balance works in Prakasam district from Rs 485 crores to Rs 728 crores, the Congress leader alleged.

The government had also prepared the ground to increase the cost estimates for two more projects a�� Penuganga and Veligonda. The Telugu Ganga balance works cost is also proposed for a whopping increase of Rs 7,189 crores from just Rs 3,835 crores and the Veligonda is proposed for an increase of Rs 4,846 crores from the original cost of Rs 2,145 crores, Raghuveera Reddy alleged.

The APCC president asked Chandrababu Naidu to fix the date and venue for the public debate on the irrigation projects. He said that the Congress delegation would come with all the documental evidences to prove the corruption of this government.

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