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Polavaram : AP Govt’s decision to force Navayuga out flayed

Ch RS Sarma Visakhapatnam | Updated on August 02, 2019 Published on August 02, 2019

File Photo of Navayuga Engineering Company at the Polavaram project site.   -  The Hindu

The decision of the new YSR Congress Government to force Navayuga Engineering Company out of the mega Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari has caused concern and consternation not only among the opposition Telugu Desam party circles but in the general public as well.

The move, announced on Thursday, was very much on the cards, as from the beginning the YSR Congress has been alleging, along with the BJP leaders, widespread corruption in the execution of the project. Polavaram, a national project, is being executed by the State Government under the supervision of the Polavaram Project Authority, a central agency.

Condemning the action, former Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu and TDP president said the YSR Congress Government was not at all sincere in executing the project, and under the guise of exposing corruption the project was being stalled with ulterior motives. The move would further delay the project and result in cost escalation.

Former Irrigation Minister and TDP leader D Umamaheswara Rao said the YSR Congress was indulging in “a political witch hunt and a slander campaign” on the project and the move to force Navayuga out was totally unwarranted. “The sub-contract was given to Navayuga only as the company had agreed to finish the work at old rates and after thoroughly examining its track record. There was no foul play involved, as is being alleged by the Chief Minister, and it was done with the approval of the Centre. Nitin Gadkari, who was then the Union Water Resources Minister, had suggested that a sub-contractor be appointed to speed up the works. All these facts are in the public domain and yet the new Government is going ahead with its vindictive steps,” he alleged.

Several other TDP leaders described it as “a Tuglaq action”, with no rhyme or reason, and taken with malice.

Sriram, a retired senior official in Navayuga Company, said the move was not warranted, as “it would cause more harm to the interests of the State than the company. Political score-settling should not impede the progress of the State and a project as vital as Polavaram should not be obstructed in the manner.”

Navayuga as a sub-contractor was engaged in construction of spillway, spillway channel, coffer dam and related works in the Polavaram project along with another engineering company, the total works being estimated at roughly ₹3,350 crore, of which Navayuga’s works amounted to roughly ₹3,000 crore. The company was also given the hydel power project, a component of the project. The other company, executing works worth roughly ₹300 crore, was also given the marching orders.

The new government wants to call for fresh tenders after the committee of technical experts has submitted its report and the reason cited for asking Navayuga to go out of the project was that it was awarded to the company on a nomination basis and no tenders were called for.

The new Government wants to adopt a method of “reverse tendering” to expose the previous TDP Government’s alleged massive corruption in the project and to bring down costs of the project. “It is not reverse tendering, but perverse tendering, intended to benefit those companies close to Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy,” remarked a senior TDP leader.

Published on August 02, 2019
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