Lok Satta

Thursday, 29 April 2010 12:00

Lok Satta for expert team to review Jalayagnam’ projects

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Lok Satta Party President Dr. Jayaprakash Narayan has requested the Chief Minister to immediately constitute a team of independent experts drawn from outside Andhra Pradesh to comprehensively review all the projects taken up under ‘Jalayagnam’ and report within 90 days.

 

He suggested that Central Water Commission and global experts on water management can be involved in this exercise “to not only examine the viability of the projects, but also to propose alternative projects and approaches to fulfill our needs and to ensure economic viability, regional balance, and equity.”

 

“We should undertake such a review totally impartially, without any bias or prejudice on regional, political or partisan grounds entering into decision making,” said Dr. JP in a letter addressed to the Chief Minister.

 

Dr. JP said: “Right now, on account of the present and future financial burden of these large projects, the State is getting mired into a deep crisis, and posterity will not forgive us if we do not exercise due care and diligence in public expenditure, and in the discharge of the responsibilities entrusted to our care today.”

 

Dr. JP said that the State is now facing a financial crisis because of the cumulative impact of unbridled populism, reckless expenditure, unsustainable policies and political expediency notwithstanding the Chief Minister’s success in meeting FRBM targets in the last six years.

 

Dr. JP pointed out that although ‘Jalayagnam’ is a worthy program conceptually, “several reckless, costly, ineffective, unviable schemes have been taken up without proper analysis of costs and benefits. Alternatives have not been adequately explored. Capital cost is too high in several cases, sometimes running up to Rs.3 lakh per acre. The schemes will involve vast capital expenditure leading to a huge debt burden on the state and high servicing costs. Some of the schemes will be a permanent drain on the State exchequer and will severely aggravate power shortages, since they will need thousands of megawatts of power for lifting water to heights ranging from 500 feet to 1800 feet. Such large lifts over great heights of vast quantities of water were never contemplated even in the richest and most technologically-advanced countries as those nations understood that public money should be spent wisely and people should get the full benefit for every rupee spent. In our state, we have lost sight of elementary principles of managing public finances.”

 

 “Now is the time to thoroughly and honestly review all these large projects before further expenditure is incurred. We should undertake such a review totally impartially, without any bias or prejudice on regional, political or partisan grounds entering into decision making.”