Of the total cost of the project estimated to be around Rs 57,000 crore, R&R of evacuees would only require Rs 21,027 crore, the Chief Minister said while addressing a public meeting at the Polavaram project site yesterday.
While a total of 1,68,213 acres of land was needed for the project, 1,10,355 acres has so far been acquired.
"We have to rehabilitate 98,818 families, mostly tribals, for which we need Rs 21,027 crore.. We have so far spent Rs 13,755 crore on the overall project," he noted.
The Centre has so far released Rs 8,127 crore for Polavaram after it was declared a national project, he added.
Earlier, Naidu had said that a sum of around 33,000 crore was required for land acquisition and the relief and rehabilitation packages.
Stating that the diaphragm wall of the project, "an important milestone" was completed in a record 414 days, Naidu announced the total project would be completed by December 2019.
"So far 55.12 per cent of the project works have been completed and the spillway works will be finished by March next. By December 2018, the Left Main Canal will be completed and we will impound water in the Yeleru reservoir."
Likening Polavaram to Lord Venkateswara's shrine atop Tirumala hills, the Chief Minister said everyone should visit the gigantic project "at least once in their lifetime."
"Like you visit Tirumala and seek the Lord's blessings, everyone should come and see Polavaram that is a useful project for the future generations. It is our lifeline and only when you see it, you will believe it," Chandrababu remarked.
Noting that Polavaram would be last massive irrigation project in India, Naidu said it would surpass all records, including the Three Gorges Dam (in China), once completed.