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Centre clears Polavaram Project Authority (May)

The Union Cabinet on Thursday cleared the proposal for constituting the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) for the execution of the Polavaram irrigation project. The constitution of the Centrally-funded PPA and its governing body was in accordance with the section 90 of AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. The draft Cabinet note for the setting up of the authority had received the backing of the Ministries of Environment and Forests, Finance, Home Affairs, Law and Justice, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Power, Rural Development, Tribal Affairs and the Planning Commission. All the assets and liabilities of the Polavaram project will be transferred to the authority and a separate PPA fund would also be created to which the funds released by the Centre will be credited. The Authority will clear apprehensions about the project and instill confidence in both the successor States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as also other riparian States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and carry out the project in a transparent and equitable manner, according to informed sources.

 

The multipurpose Polavaram project is expected to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares, generate 960 mw of power and supply 23.4 tmc drinking water to Visakhapatnam city and also to Vizag steel plant. It will also facilitate an inter-basin transfer of 80 tmcft annually to the Krishna river basin. Centre will fund and execute the project and obtain all the requisite clearances including environmental, forests and rehabilitation. The project cost originally estimated at Rs.10,151 crore rose to Rs.16,010 crore but the Planning Commission is yet approve the escalated investment cost. A number of cases have been pending against the project including those filed by the Chhattisgarh and Odisha governments and the PPA under the Ministry of Water Resources is endeavoured to get all requisite clearances to ensure speedy execution, regulation and development of the project while ensuring environmental safeguard measures and rehabilitation of the displaced, informed sources said.

 

The Polavaram Project Authority would be an autonomous body under the chairmanship of a Chief Executive Officer (of the rank of Additional Secretary to GoI) to be appointed by the Centre from among those officers empanelled with a fixed tenure of three years. The principal secretaries/secretaries of irrigation of the successor States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to be nominated by the respective State Governments would be the members. Besides two posts of Chief Engineer in Central Water Engineering service would be created - as in-charge of Planning and design wing and as a Member Secretary of the Authority. Another CE in Central Power Engineering will be appointed as in-charge of power wing besides deputation of Central and State government employees, according to sources.


Hindu, Delhi, Friday 2nd May 2014