State government is yet to give a serious thought to fast-approaching Krishna Pushkaram. It is unlikely that the pushkaram-related works would be kick-started before April if government plans are any indication.
The State government has not commenced pushkaram works though review meetings were held on a couple of occasions. District-wise preliminary review meetings were held at Kurnool, Guntur and Krishna districts. Even those review meetings were limited to water resources, endowments and transport departments, while various other departments such as panchayati raj, revenue, roads and buildings, rural development, power, national highways, and medical and health had to be involved to make the river jamboree a grand success.
Compared to Godavari Pushkaram conducted on a grand scale last year, the government was reportedly not in such an upbeat mood over the Krishna Pushkaram. The government took up Godavari Pushkaram as a prestigious event and attempted to draw national and international attention. It began the arrangements for pushkaram one year in advance. Still, much of the pushkaram work could not be completed despite the fact that Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu personally inspected the works at Rajamahendravaram and other places. The same zeal is missing when it comes to Krishna Pushkaram. Fund crunch is being projected as the main reason behind the State government’s inertia. The pushkaram, sources say, is estimated to cost Rs. 1,600 crore. The government is yet to commence the works notwithstanding the fact that the pushkaram is fast approaching and is slated to begin from August 12.
The government is planning to construct 14-km stretch pushkar ghat from Ibrahimpatnam to Ferry on the lines of Kotilingala ghat in Rajamahendravaram in East Godavari district. It is estimated that this ghat alone would cost Rs. 320 crore. However, the government is yet to finalise all the proposals and release funds for the same.
Sources say that the government would release the funds for pushkaram works only after the presentation of annual budget. It is likely to make a budgetary provision for the works.
Mr. Naidu is slated to lay the foundation stone for pushkar ghat near Ferry on April 7 and the government has reportedly allocated Rs. 46 crore for the same. In other words, it would take another one-and-a-half month to commence the works.
There are apprehensions whether the government would be able to meet the deadline as it is yet to come out with an action plan and commence the works. The government would have just four months on hand to complete the works and make the river festival a success.