After the project is halfway done, the expenditure is again extended and then more funds are released. Then the project is never completed despite spending so much money. This was the common story during Chandrababu Naidu’s rule in Andhra Pradesh. There is a whole list of scams that happened in different projects and this time it was the Water Resource Department. Here, the state and the people lost Rs. 56,750 crores to corruption. Who is 420 in AP you ask, its not that difficult to answer it?
Here is a statement of the then Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu:
“With the exception of Polavaram and Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi, work of pending projects would be completed with Rs. 17,368 crores. Additionally, 35.04 lakh acres of ayacut would be provided with water. The state would be turned into a fertile region.” – Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu on July 28, 2014, in the White Paper on irrigation projects.
Here is what really happened:
The actual expenditure amount was Rs. 62,132 crores as incurred by the Water Resources Department for the different irrigation projects. Out of the total amount, Rs. 15,139 crores were spent on Neeru-Chettu (Water and Tree) scheme. Then Rs. 9,727 crores were spent on Polavaram project and Rs. 37,246 crores on other pending projects.
Approximately, Rs. 32,000 crores were taken away for paying of commission. As was the culture under Naidu was, the contract for the Neeru-Chettu Programme, works were given to the chose few who were associated with party in one or the other way. The contractors then looted Rs. 24,750 crores by selling soil and sand. The soil and sand that they sold were resourced by digging the canals and desilting the tanks and other water bodies.
The total amount lost in the whole transaction were Rs.56,750 crore (32,000 + 24,750). Now if Chandrababu Naidu’s name is attached to the question who is 420 in AP, it is no bug surprise. Due to the massive corruption that happened in the state, the state lost a huge amount of money all for nothing.
Lost in Commission
The money that was sanctioned for the development projects were actually spend on commission. A project got extended just for the heck of looting the money from it. The Chandrababu Naidu govt had the habit of doing it again and again. There are many instances where you can see that shameless loot happening right under his nose.
Chandrababu Naidu colluded with the contractors and caused a major hike in the costs of the irrigation projects. The cost for the projects were hiked to to Rs. 58,107.86 crore, and Chandrababu Naidu had to borrowed funds from the bank via the AP Water Resources Development Corporation (APWRDC). His reason was that the govt needed more money to complete the projects.
In order to suit his needs, Chandrababu Naidu even amended the APWRDC Act, 1997, which paved the way to increase the limit of borrowing by the corporation. No doubt that the question who is 420 in AP will always be associated with Chandrababu Naidu and his TDP govt.
Incomplete Projects Despite Massive Expenditure and Promises
The one thing that people of AP will always remember is the false promises by the then Chief Minister. He was quick to promise so many things only to leave them unfulfilled. Andhra Pradesh was already reeling under the pain of losing Telangana and the set back that the bifurcation bought. To add to the injury, the Naidu govt looted the state further without any development. By the time election on 2019 happened, almost all projects remained incomplete.
Apart from the Pattiseema and Purushottapatnam lift irrigation projects, all the other projects were commenced during the time of late Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy. The Chandrababu Naidu govt that came to power in 2014 had stated that all the projects will be completed within the budget of Rs. 17,368 crores, apart from the Polavaram and Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi in North Andhra.
The fact is none of the projects were completed in time even after spending a whooping amount of Rs. 62,132 crores. All this happened due to the massive corruption under Chandrababu.
Misuse of Clause 60 (C)
Corruption cannot happen without twisting and misusing the rules. This is exactly what Chandrababu Naidu did with the Clause 60 (C). After the TDP came into power, one of the first thing they did was remove the previously appointed contractors by misusing the Clause 60 (C) of APDSS. The clause specifies that the existing contractors can be removed if the projects are delayed.
After the contractors were removed, the next thing the Chandrababu Naidu govt did was hike the cost of the project. Going with the tradition of awarding contractors to people related to the party, the Naidu govt gave away the contract for the remaining works to chosen few. The contracts bough the Naidu govt all the kickbacks and commissions it wanted. Just a few companies bagged the contracts due to this discrimination. The Who is 420 in AP question can be easily answered by looking at the way the TDP govt acted.
The state lost a huge amount of money due to corruption under Chandrababu Naidu. A large amount of money went on commission while the projects remained incomplete. With the history of massive corruption under his name, there is no doubt who is 420 in AP.
Read previous blog: CAG Vs. Chandrababu Naidu – The Endless List of Corruption