The government led by Chandrababu Naidu had indiscriminately spent thousands of rupees for a work that could be successfully done with a small budget. It seems that one who is 420 in AP had shown more interest in bagging commissions than carrying out the work in a cost-effective manner. The irrigation projects received a massive hike because of the conspiracy between the contractors and the CM. The estimated cost soared as high as Rs 58, 107, 86 crores.
The former CM extracted funds from the nationalized banks stating the need for funds to finish off the projects. His corruption did not end there; he went ahead and altered the APWRDC Act of 1997 and increased the limit of lending.
The leader of the TDP promised to get all the projects completed with a budget of not more than Rs. 17, 368 crores. However, the reality was far from the theory. Even after spending a massive amount of Rs. Sixty-two thousand one hundred and thirty-two crores, zero projects were completed. The numbers testify for all the injustice done under the government of Naidu.
The exploitation of Clause 60 (C)
After coming to power, the first decision of the TDP was to remove contractors who were already working by exploiting the clause 60 (C) of APDSS, which enables the government to remove contractors if they delay the execution of the project. Contractors got fired, and the next step of the one who is 420 in AP was to hike the estimated budget. Even though the costs of diesel, steel, cement, and other things dropped, the budget as a whole was increased.
Objections from both the Chief Secretaries were overruled, and the AP government issued GO No:22, supporting the release of extra funds to working contractors if needed. The basic principle of Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC) was violated in this. The government did not stop here; it went ahead and issued GO No: 63, which approved the release of extra funds. This is how the former CM extracted heavy funds and used APWRDC to settle the bills.
Once the axing of the actual contractors and increasing the budget of all projects, the government now began to distribute works to contractors, who were willing to give commissions based on nomination. Notifications were wrenched to make sure that most of the work was assigned to the coterie contractors. This pattern was followed through four and a half years of Chandrababu Naidu’s government.
To procure massive commissions, Rithwik’s project got a major share of works that were related to Vamsadhara, Handri-Neeva, and Galeru-Nagari and Veligonda projects. In CAG reports of all financial years of 2015-16, 2016-17, 2017-18, it was revealed that the estimated budget was hiked for paying bills to the contractors. The one who is 420 in AP borrowed around Rs 4,000 crore with an interest of 7.90% from nationalized banks through APWRDC. Not merely that, the Water Resources Department again requested for the release of Rs. 30,000 crore to the government. In turn, the AP government made the APWRDC borrow the money.
The Finance Department objected to this move of the government. What was the need to borrow at a high rate of interest when one could get funds at very low interest rates? This clearly shows that there were some serious alternations. Reports of the socio-economic survey stated that only Rs. 780 crore was needed to complete the 11 projects. Unfortunately, it shows the CM didn’t have the aim to serve the people but to serve himself.