Jagan to meet ministers on Polavaram and local body polls

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Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy will hold a crucial meeting with ministers and top officials on the completion of Polavaram project.

The Chief Minister called a review meeting with ministers to discuss issues related to the state, including release of pending funds for Polavaram irrigation project.

The meeting will be held at CM camp office in Tadepalli at 3 pm on Monday. The meeting will be attended by water resources minister Anil Kumar Yadav, finance minister Buganna Rajendranath, minister Perni Nani and Kodali Nani and other MLAs.

Jagan is likely to discuss the ways to get early release of pending revenue grant of Rs 10,000 crore, Rs 3,250 crore funds for the Polavaram project. At the review meeting, Jagan will take stock of the status of the project and period of completion.

The main agenda of the meeting will be on the grant of central funds to the Polavaram project considered as the lifeline of Andhra Pradesh. In 2013, the total cost of the project was estimated at more than Rs 55,000 crore when Chandrababu Naidu was the first chief minister of newly formed Andhra Pradesh.

Naidu has fiercely fought with the central government to release the funds to the project which was declared as a national project under the AP Reorganisation Act, 2014. However, the central government pegged the expenditure at Rs 20,398 crore and made it clear to the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) that it would not grant funds beyond that.

The Union Finance Ministry made it clear that only Rs 7,053.74 crore (at the 2013-14 price level) remains to be reimbursed, as against the Rs 47,724.74 crore (2017-18 price level) cleared by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti (MoJS) and expected by the State.

Another key issue on the agenda is holding local body elections. Jagan will discuss with the ministers whether to hold the local body elections in November or put off the polls to the next year. A decision to this effect could be taken at the meeting. State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh had recently stated that he will hold a meeting with all political parties in the state on May 28 to discuss over the conduct of local body elections.

Ramesh Kumar had put off the local body polls which were scheduled to be held on March 15 citing the Covid-19 pandemic. Following this, the Andhra Pradesh government removed Ramesh Kumar as SEC in what was seen as an act of political vendetta.

The Andhra Pradesh government had promulgated an ordinance reducing the term of the state election commissioner from five years to three. The Jagan sarkar removed Ramesh Kumar as SEC and appointed retired Madras High Court judge justice Kanagaraj as the state election commissioner. Ramesh Kumar had challenged his termination and the appointment of Kanagaraj in his position in the AP High Court which directed the state government to reinstate Ramesh Kumar as SEC.

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