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'Don't want to mix development and politics', says Gadkari in Andhra Pradesh

By Vikas

Hyderabad, July 11: Amidst standoff between the BJP-led Centre and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari, who is in Andhra Pradesh today (July 11), said 'developmental activities and politics' should not be mixed.

Nitin Gadkari with Chandrababu Naidu (Image courtesy - ANI/Twitter)

Gadkari visited the Polavaram dam site today to review the work. The visit is under a spotlight as it was the first visit by any central minister after the BJP and the TDP severed ties. Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu also accompanied Gadkari during his visit.

"Central government is keen on completion of the project and whatever funds are needed for the project, we will give them. We don't want to mix developmental activities and politics," Gadkari told reporters.

The TDP had a few months back severed ties with the BJP after alleging that the Centre had refused to grant 'special category status' to Andhra Pradesh. Chandrababu Naidu had criticised PM Modi-led government for allegedly turning back on its promise of granting the special category status to AP.

According to reports, the Centre on Monday extended stay on 'stop work' order of Polavaram project for another year. Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan cleared the file, allowing the State government to go ahead with the works of Polavaram. The works of the national project are going on at a brisk pace as the State government set a target to complete the prestigious project in 2019.

According to the state government, the total expenditure of the project so far stands at Rs 13,798 crore. After declaring it as a national project, an amount of Rs 8662 crore had been spent on the project by end of May. Out of this, an amount of Rs 6,727 crore has been reimbursed by the government of India. Balance amount of Rs 1,935 crore spent by the state funds is still pending.

On June 25, Chandrababu Naidu had also written a letter to union minister Nitin Gadkari seeking funds for the project which included reimbursement of Rs 431 crore balance to the state and release of additional Rs 1504 crore excess amount of the project cost as per the 2013-14 cost estimates.

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