Hyderabad: Congress President Sonia Gandhi
has assured Andhra Pradesh government that the multi-purpose
Polavaram irrigation project in the state would soon be
conferred national status.
In reply to a letter written by Chief Minister K Rosaiah,
Sonia Gandhi said that she has asked her office to follow up
the matter, an official release here said today.
The national status to the project would mean that bulk
of the cost of the project would be borne by the Centre.
"...You have requested that the declaration of Polavaram
as a national project be expedited. I have asked my office to
follow up on the matter," the CMO release said quoting Sonia
Sonia`s letter assumes importance as it has come in the
wake of objections raised by Orissa Chief Minister Naveen
Patnaik against conferring national status to Polavaram.
Patnaik met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi
two days ago and requested him not to concede Andhra Pradesh`s
demand for national status to Polavaram.
Inordinate delay in execution of Polavaram Project has
led to steep escalation of project cost from about Rs 12,000
crore to over Rs 17,600 crore now.
Though the State Government has already spent Rs 3,000
crore on the project, it is unable to go ahead due to severe
financial crunch. It has been desperately seeking national
status for the project so that 90 per cent of the total cost
would be borne by the Centre.