Jagan Reddy orders probe into alleged irregularities in Polavaram project, locks horns with Centre
The government ordered the probe following a report by an expert committee that looked into the processes followed by the previous TDP regime in tendering, launching and executing engineering works of the Polavaram project.
The YSR Congress party government in Andhra Pradesh has ordered an inquiry into the alleged financial irregularities in Polavaram major irrigation project being constructed on the Godavari river even as the Centre objected to its decision to invite fresh tenders.
In a letter written to superintending engineer of Polavaram project on August 23, regional vigilance and enforcement officer of East Godavari district U Ravi Prakash asked the project authorities to hand over all the documents pertaining to the project head works’ contract.
The probe order came a day after the Andhra Pradesh high court struck down a state government order terminating the contract of Navayuga Engineering Company Limited for executing Rs 3,216 crore hydro-power project of Polavaram major irrigation project.
The vigilance and enforcement officer sought records pertaining to revision of agreement rates paid to contractors from 2011-12 to 2015-16, special imprest amount, mobilization advances and payments made to original contractor as per Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) agreement.
He also sought details of the works withdrawn from original contractor and given to the new contractor (Navayuga Engineering Company Ltd), documents pertaining to establishment of field laboratory and revolving fund paid to the new contractors for purchase of diesel.
“The vigilance inquiry was ordered based on the report submitted by expert committee constituted on June 14 to look into the processes followed by the N Chandrababu Naidu–led TDP government in tendering, launching and executing engineering works in Polavaram with a view to preventing corruption and rectify discrepancies in the project,” an irrigation department official familiar with the development said.
The official said the committee had found that the previous government had paid Rs 3,128 crore to the contractors in violation of the EPC norms. The committee recommended that the government recover the additional payments made to the contractors under Revenue Recovery Act.
Jagan Mohan Reddy’s government has already terminated the contract of Navayuga to execute the Polavaram project and issued a notification on August 17 calling for fresh tenders. This was strongly objected to by the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) of the Union Water Resources Ministry which pointed out that the project would cost would go up on account of the re-tender process.
Meanwhile, senior Telugu Desam Party leader and former state irrigation minister Devineni Umamaheshwar Rao on Monday said it was ridiculous to order a vigilance inquiry into the execution of works of Polavaram project, despite the fact that the Centre had already expressed satisfaction over the progress of works done during the TDP regime.
“Why has the government called for records only since 2011? Why does it not go into the records of the works taken up during the regime of Jagan’s father and former chief minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy?” Rao asked.