Chandrababu Naidu time and again broke rules to serve the interest of his cronies. This is one such of examples. He insisted on pushing a proposal through the cabinet though it was in violation of rules. The proposal was supposed to favour contractors at the expense of state exchequer. He asked the cabinet on January 20, 2017, to approve the issuance of GO: 22 and GO: 63, which would ensure the release of additional funds to contractors of newly undertaken projects, in violation of engineering and procurement (EPC) rules. However, with the media highlighting the glaring irregularities and violations in the proposal, he backed off for the time being. But exactly after 87 days, he made sure that the cabinet approved the proposal that paved way for large scale corruption.

These two attrocious GOs- 22 and 63 have burdened the state by Rs. 20,000 crore while gave additional funds to the contractors who are close to the CM. By issuing these GOs, Chandrababu Naidu gifted himself at least Rs. 2,000 crore. Here is the complete story.

He Did What He Opposed When in Opposition

On February 7, 2014, as the Opposition leader Chandrababu strongly opposed GO: 13 issued by Kiran Kumar Reddy government in undivided Andhra Pradesh. The GO proposed to increase the irrigation projects' costs vis-a-vis the costs of the prices of steel, cement, diesel, labour and material. Chandrababu mounted strong criticism against the GO and alleged the government of having struck backroom deals with contractors. This GO was set aside by Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan temporarily during the President's rule.

Once TDP came to power, Chandrababu Naidu, who had backroom deals with contactors, overruled the objections of the Water Resources Department, Finance Department and has also completely ignored the suggestions of then Chief Secretary I.Y.R. Krishna Rao.

On March 22, 2015 the AP government issued GO: 22 making provision for the sanction of additional funds to contractors. To put this GO into affect, he issued GO: 63 on June 12, for sanction of funds to bills for additional expenses. These two GOs have burdened the state exchequer by Rs. 20,000 crore.

These GOs were meant to be applicable only to the projects that were undertaken before April 1, 2013. However, this rule was also changed thanks to the pressure from C.M. Ramesh. He had claimed that without additional funding for Rs. 169.71 crore, it would be impossible to complete the Kuppam Branch Canal, a part of Handri Neeva Sujala Sravanthi, by his company Rithwik Projects. He gave an ultimatum to the government that his company would halt work on the project unless additional payments were made.

Instead of taking action against Rithwik Projects as per EPC procedure and impose fines, the AP government gave in and took the side of Rithwik Projects instead. In the same fashion, all the coterie contractors resorted to hard bargaining saying that it was not viable for them to continue their work on the project.

Once the kickback amounts were settled, CM Chandrababu Naidu exerted tremendous pressure on the State Level Standing Committee (SLSC) to bring the new projects under the purview of GOs 22 and 63. Without these GOs, the projects could have been completed by now as well as Rs. 20,000 public funds would have been saved.

Pressure On BOCE

The SLSC clearly stated that GOs 22 and 63 were not applicable to new projects and they were against established rules. The Chief Minister then directed the SLSC that the proposals should be placed before the Board of Chief Engineers (BOCE) Committee. On November 29, 2017, at a meeting of the BOCE, succumbing to pressure, the Committee submitted a report stating that projects taken up after April 01, 2013 could also be brought under the purview of the two GOs. Chief Minister Chandrababu exerted pressure on the Water Resources department and Finance Department to implement the recommendations of BOCE.

Source: Emperor of Corruption

Also Read: Even Chief Secretaries Couldn’t Stop Corruption In Irrigation Department