New Delhi: Union Minister for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Water Rejuvenation Uma Bharti handed over a cheque for Rs 1,981.54 crore towards assistance to the multipurpose Polavaram Project under the PM Krishi Sinchayee Yojana through NABARD on Monday, while promising to complete the project within the deadline. The assistance, the first of its kind released by NABARD for such a major irrigation project, would help Andhra Pradesh complete the project by 2018, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu said in his thanksgiving speech later. The Chief Minister said the move of the Centre indicated that the NDA government was fully committed to the development of the nation. The project, which was expected to generate 960 MW of power bessides irrigating 15.2 lakh acres, would be completed by the end of 2018 at the most, Naidu said. He described it as the last biggest such project in India as there was no scope for such a venture in future. Polavaram will not only prevent Godavari waters running waste into the sea, but also help the dry lands of the entire South India. This project has been the dream of our people from pre-independence days. It is a long desire of Telugus. The decision to include seven mandals of Telangana falling under Polavaram submergence area into Andhra Pradesh soon after coming to power of the NDA was a brilliant move. Work on the project is apace and it would stabilize existing command area of Krishna and Godavari Delta systems to the extent of 23 lakh acres,” Naidu said. The Chief Minister said he had so far visited the project site 11 times and had declared Monday as a Polavaram Day for review purposes. He thanked the Centre for the handholding it was extending to the state and urged it to continue doing the same till the completion of project. He thanked Union minister M Venkaiah Naidu for the personal attention he was bestowing upon AP. Venkaiah Naidu said both the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister would go down in the history as visionaries for their great job. Outlining BJP’s efforts for the progress and development of AP, Venkaiah Naidu, said he had foreseen the problem the project would face if the seven mandals were not to be included in AP and convinced the PM over the ordinance to this effect. AP faced several problems due to bifurcation and needed a constant handholding and the Centre was ever willing to help it out, he added. Listing out the institutions sanctioned and those already grounded in the last two years in AP, he said the state needed extra care and funds would not be a problem. He hailed the “Modi-Naidu Jodi” as a remarkable one and said it would change the face of AP. Visakhapatnam would soon emerge as the most developed city in the country and Polavaram would help the metropolis meet all its water needs. Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said the Prime Minister was keen that the multipurpose project should be completed on time. Funding through NABARD was being done for the first time and the governments being given the funds should utilize it to the benefit of farmers. Uma Bharati said the pace of Chandrababu Naidu was tremendous and it was always a challenge to meet his expectations. She said it was a pleasure to see the release of the funds under the scheme for the completion of the project. Modi wanted to transform the country’s face through his PMKSY and the emphasis was on to complete all 99 pending irrigation projects through special assistance through NABARD.