Chandrababu Naidu’s stint as the chief Minister of the Andhra Pradesh was marked by corruption and scams. It was later confirmed by the CAG, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India that AP was the most corrupt state in the country. It also revealed several disparities in spending of the funds on various development projects. There are several examples of corruption under the leadership of Chandrababu Naidu and The Totapalli Project was one of them.
Like many of the other projects, the Totapalli Project cost too was raised just before it was about to be finished. The reason behind this act was to benefit the contractors who were none other than the cronies of the then ruling party TDP including the Chandrababu Naidu, who is 420 in AP in every sense of the word.
From Rs. 774.90 crore to Rs. 1,127.58 crore
Totapalli Project cost was increased from Rs. 774.90 crore to Rs. 1,127.58 crore, a 45.51 percent hike. The increased cost was almost twice the original cost estimated earlier. The surprise element was that the cost hike came when the project was almost at the end. There is no doubt that it was done so to benefit the contractors. The project which was almost completed then didn’t need that much funding, but of course Chandrababu Naidu and his cronies needed to stuff their pockets with money. There is hardly any need for asking who is 420 in AP as it is already apparent.
The Totapalli Regulator was built by the British on the River Nagavali in 1908 and was in desperate need of repair as it was showing the signs of the wear and tear. The previous govt had taken the initiative of building a 2.509 TMC-capacity reservoir 500 meters up from the present construction. It could supply water for 1.20 lakh acres through a canal of 117.89 km length.
The original estimated cost of the project was Rs. 450.23 crore and 85% work were done by the end of 2009. The cost was increased to Rs. 774.90 crore to pave way for further development. Almost 90% of the work was completed by 2014. But, the Chandrababu Naidu govt didn’t do anything to complete the rest of the work.
Why the Cost Were Increased
Now the real question is why the Chandrababu Naidu raised the cost of the project that was almost complete. The answer lies in the fact that Naidu govt wanted commission and benefit the contractors. The Chandrababu Naidu govt miserably failed to complete the project and made a very lofty claim of completing it in 2015.
Thankfully, the project was successful enough to provide irrigation to 1 lakh acres of lands because of the works that were done by the previous government. If the project would have been completed like it was meant to be, it would have provided an improved irrigation of the further 20,000 acres. But the TDP government was in no mood to do so. It had got a project that was almost completed and it took the credit without even bothering to complete the rest of the work.
This is nothing new if you analyze other projects that was announced by the TDP govt. Throughout his rule, the Chandrababu Naidu never completed most of the projects and the cost were revised several times. By the time of the 2019 election, the Andhra Pradesh state had nothing to show for only the incomplete work. Who is 420 in AP – you know the answer.
What Chandrababu Naidu Gained From It
Throughout his reign, Chandrababu Naidu had been providing contracts to a select few companies. No doubt those contractors were actually related to the party somehow. Some of the companies belonged the TDP MLAs. If you analyze the whole thing, you will notice that there is some kind of pattern to it – Naidu increases the cost, the contractors benefit from it and the TDP govt gets the kickbacks. Now, who is 420 in AP is a question that can be easily answered.
The contractors demanded more funds for the project. They gave the excuse of the inflation and proportion of completed work. Instead of handling the project effectively, Chandrababu Naidu gave in to the demands and contractors and compelled the authorities to make additional payments. The Water Resources Department had to bear a lot of pressure to release the funds as per the GO: 22 and GO: 63. Due to this, the estimate cost was revised to Rs. 1,127.58 crore.
What it means that the Naidu govt paid the contractors additional fund of Rs. 352.68 crore or the work that was already done. You can only imagine that the money had changed hands in the process and Chandrababu Naidu did get his kickback from it.
Chandrababu Naidu Legacy
No doubt the public were not blind or stupid as the Naidu govt thought. They were punished in the 2019 election when they won only 23 seats and were humiliated. The instances of scams and corruption was on the rise in just 4 years of his rule. People were fed up of his leadership and they had clearly seen what was going on. Naidu left behind a legacy of half completed projects, land scams, projects scams, corruption and betrayal and the burning question – who is 420 in AP.
Totapalli Project was just another example of how Chandrababu Naidu worked as a CM of the state. He hiked the cost to benefit the contractors, who had no doubt gave him his share of the profit.
Read previous blog: How AP Lost Rs. 56,750 Crore to Corruption During Chandrababu Rule