Law
The court fined the Centre, for its failure to file a reply on a plea filed by the Odisha government.
File photo: PTI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slapped a fine of Rs 25,000 on the Centre for not filing its response on a plea filed by the state government of Odisha, regarding the Polavaram Project on river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.

Expressing dissatisfaction at the Centre's failure to file a reply, the court asked it to pay the fine and respond within two weeks. 

The court also impleaded Telangana and Chhattisgarh as parties in the case.

This comes weeks after the Andhra Pradesh government reportedly brushed aside neighbouring Odisha's request, that work on construction of the Polavaram project be stopped until the latter's concerns were addressed.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to his AP counterpart Chandrababu Naidu on October 10, requesting that the construction work of Polavaram be stopped immediately till his state's concerns were addressed.

"The construction work on the project is going on without any further permission by MoEF&CC (Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change) as per record available with the government of Odisha. No efforts have been made to resolve the issues relating to Odisha," Patnaik was quoted as saying.

However, when reporters sought the Andhra government's reaction to the letter, state Water Resources Minister Devineni Umamaheswara Rao said, "We have all the clearances and we will go ahead with the construction. We want to complete the project by 2019. Our opposition parties have been trying hard to get the project stalled but we will not let them succeed."

Though conceptually proposed in 1941, and taken a little further by former Chief Minister T Anjaiah, it was during the term of YS Rajasekhara Reddy that the project began gathering steam.

In its present form, the multi-purpose irrigation project, still has an assessed command area of 2.91 lakh hectares and a power generation potential of 960 MW. 

However, Odisha in its petition, has claimed that the project will submerge about 600 habitations in four states and also submerge about 8,000 acres of forest and 500 acres of the wild life sanctuary.