Jagan Starts Plan-B For Polavaram?

After the Centre’s shocker on Polavaram project, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy is exploring ways and means to secure the required funds for completion of the multi-purpose project.

According to the YCP leaders, their leader, Jagan, is trying to find alternatives for completion of the project. After assuming power as the Chief Minister in 2019, Jagan sent revised proposals worth Rs 47,615 crore to the Centre in connection with the project. The Jal Shakti ministry too had given nod to the proposals.

Recently, the finance department made it clear that it would give only Rs 20,000 crores as per the estimates prepared in 2014, which raised doubts over completion of the project.

The YCP government is blaming the TDP for the Centre’s U-turn with regard to the irrigation project while the TDP says it is the failure of the YCP government in not questioning the Centre over retreating on its promise to sanction Rs 55,000 crore, the amount which was finalised for the project during the TDP rule.

Political observers say the Centre is taking advantage of both the ruling YCP and the Opposition TDP and trying to benefit from the situation by cutting down the cost of the multi-purpose project. Jagan has to be relieved from the CBI and ED cases registered against him in connection with the disproportionate assets case while the TDP had already developed animosity with the BJP and also does not have the required strength in the Parliament to mount pressure on the Centre.

Now, it is being said that Jagan has understood that there was no use discussing the issue. Hence, it is learnt that the CM has written a letter to the Prime Minister to sanction the required funds for the project. Jagan is reportedly ready to meet PM Narendra Modi and speak on the issue if an appointment is given.

There is information that Jagan is holding discussions with the financial advisors over approaching the World Bank, Asia Bank and others seeking funds for the project.

The Polavaram project would require a minimum of Rs 30,000 crore and the state government alone cannot bear the expenditure. So, the YCP government is trying to find alternatives for the completion of the project. It is learnt that the government is getting ready to hold discussions with Chinese funding firms and also Japan Cooperative Bank. But, the YCP government should not forget that getting funds from overseas lending agencies alone will not ensure completion of the project. The state government will have to seek permission from the Centre for taking funds from foreign organisations as the latter will provide counter guarantee on such loans.

The YCP government plans to ask the Centre to at least provide the counter guarantee for the loans it plans to take as the Centre cannot funds the project completely. If the state government can secure funds, the Centre will just have to give counter guarantee and Polavaram will be a reality.

If the YCP government can secure funds, the Centre too can heave a sigh of relief as it need not provide money from the exchequer. However, it has to be seen if the Centre would agree at least to provide counter guarantee in the transaction.

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