The Polavaram Irrigation project missed its April 2022 deadline, according to Union Minister of State Jal Shakti Bishweswar Tudu. He cited low spending capacity, inadequate construction and contract management, lack of strategic planning and coordination, as well as the COVID-19 pandemic as reasons for the delay in project’s completion.
In response to a question from Rajya Sabha MP Kanakamedala Ravindra Kumar on Tuesday (19 July), the Union Minister stated that the project was planned to be completed by April 2022. However, according to reports, 77 per cent of project headworks, 93 per cent of right main canal works, and 72 per cent of left main canal works have been completed thus far.
The Polavaram Irrigation Project is a multipurpose project located on the river Godavari near Ramayyapeta village in Polavaram Mandal, where the river emerges from the last range of the Eastern Ghats and enters the plains in Andhra Pradesh’s West Godavari District.
This project aims to develop a total irrigation potential of 4,36,825 ha, generate 960 MW of hydropower, provision of drinking water to a population of 28.50 lakh in 611 villages, and diversion of 80 TMC of water to the Krishna river basin.
The Polavaram Irrigation Project has been designated a National Project under the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) established a committee in November 2021 to review the current construction schedule, the current status of the works, and factual reasons for the delay in order to develop an updated project schedule in response to the AP government’s notification that the project execution would be postponed beyond April 2022.
In April 2022, the committee turned in its final report. It has proposed June 2024 as the new target date for project completion.
As per the New Indian Express report, the Union Minister stated that many measures had been adopted to monitor and speed up the project’s execution and that the PPA will have frequent meetings to assess the work’s progress and address any outstanding concerns.
Furthermore, the Dam Design and Review Panel (DDRP), which was formed to provide expert advice on design aspects, and the expert committee formed to supervise various project activities, will meet on a regular basis and provide the necessary inputs to the project authority.
So far, the PPA has met 14 times, while the DDRP has met 20 times and the expert committee met seven times, added the Minister.