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How Chandrababu Naidu Pulled of Godavari-Penna Linking Project Scam

Adding to the list of corruption of Chandrababu Naidu, the Godavari-Penna river linking project fetched the former CM Rs. 3000 crores. Again, in the name of development, the Chandrababu Naidu government looted the public money. While he was the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, he did everything in his power to provide his “benami” and his cronies with contracts for the projects that were unnecessary. It only served one purpose and that was to fill the coffers of Chandrababu Naidu.

The Godavari-Penna linking project was supposed to provide the state with efficient water, but it turned out to be another scam. Now, don’t be surprised, if his name comes up when asked who is 420 in AP?

What is Godavari-Penna Linking Project

The state of Andhra Pradesh was already hurting both emotionally and economically due to the loss of Telangana. Next came the scarcity of water in the state. Chandrababu Naidu announced the river linking project to provide the state with enough water supply. It was a scheme that intended to link rivers Godavari and Penna so that the state will have sufficient drinking water as well as for irrigation purposes.

The Godavari and the Krishna rivers were already been linked by taking up the Pattiseema lift irrigation scheme. It was now time to link the Godavari and the Penna at an estimated cost of Rs 83,796 crore in five phases.

The thought was noble, but the actions were not. What conspired in reality is the game of money laundering. Chandrababu Naidu was more focused on distributing contracts to his cronies than on the development of the project. Now you know who is 420 in AP in reality.

Contracts Distribution

Once again, Chandrababu Naidu favored the contractors that were related to his party or proxies. It was argued that once the larger projects like thePolavaram projectare completed, the smaller project like the Godavari-Penna river linking project will lose its relevance. So, why was the need for the projects? The answer lies in the contract.

Chandrababu Naidu has always favored contractors from his party or his community. For all the major projects in the state, he had in many instances bent the rules to fit his needs. The new project was just another way of using the money intended for development for his own gain. The contractors will gain from the funding, meanwhile the Chandrababu Naidu was set to gain from the project. It is no secret that Chandrababu Naidu government has been accused (rightly so) of giving the contracts of their choice rather than going by the rule books.

Questions Raised Against The Project

Questions were raised from different sections on the project. The first concern was where the water will come from. There is already shortage of water, how will the project feed water into the Krishna Belt.

A top irrigation expert in the state weight-in that the Godavari water brought from Pattiseema Lift Irrigation Scheme to Krishna river wasn’t enough to meet the needs of the Krishna delta. The officials had to actually resort to drawing water from the Pulichintala and Nagarjuna Sagar project for the Kharif season. Even then the water was not sufficient. Now the valid question was where the water will come from for the first phase of Godavari-Penna link project?The first phase needs 7,000 cusecs of water. Where would that come from?

Vyapkos Report Was Ignored

After an extensive study, the Vyapkos suggested the roadmap for river linking project between Godavariand Penna rivers. The suggestion detailed how much water needed to be lifted from the different sources. A total of 320 TMCs water can be divertedfrom the Godavari and make it available to Sagar RightCanal, Penna delta and the drought-prone regions of Prakasam district.

But the Naidu government clearly ignored the report and went ahead with the first phase of the project with their own vested interest in it. Without the proper planning, the project was doomed to have failed. The bigger question was what the project would cost the state that is already suffering from shortage of water.

Environmental Concerns

Staying true with the tradition, Chandrababu Naidu ignored the environmental concerns in the state. By doing so, it risked the safety of the people and the environment of the state news at the same time.

In June 2019, The National Green Tribunal has stayed the Chandrababu Naidu’s government’s Godavari-Penna interlinking projects due to lack of environmental clearance.It stated that the absence of EC as required and Consent to Establish under the Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1974 and the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981 makes the project a no-go. It stated that the project cannot be allowed till the necessary environmental requirements are met.

How could the government have failed to comply with the rules and regulations? This only led to waste of time and money. The only viable explanation to this act was that the elections were nearing and the government had to show that there were doing a good job. It was nothing new. The TDP government is very famous for pulling off such stint just before the elections. He did the same with the Veligonda project, HNSS, and GNSS.

During the election of 2014 after the bifurcation of the state, Chandrababu Naidu did the same thing and till now none of the projects have been completed. He has surely learned his lessons as he lost so miserably in 2019 election.As of today, none of the projects started by Chandrababu Naidu has been completed. Many projects have stalled for various reasons from legal to environmental concerns. Now, if you ask who is 420 in AP, the answer will be Chandrababu Naidu.

The Bottom-line

Chandrababu Naidu, who is 420 in AP, has looted the money with many projects like the Godavari-Penna linking projects. All he wanted to do was distribute the contracts to his cronies and fill his coffers. Previous blog: Polavaram Project Draining by the 420 in AP: An In-Depth Analysis

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