Communist Party of India (CPI) leaders en route to the Polavaram project site were put under house arrest by the Andhra Pradesh police on Sunday. The CPI state secretary L Ramakrishna and other Left party leaders were on the way to the irrigation dam project site to check the height of the dam, and meet the construction workers and better understand their working conditions.
The CPI leaders were hoping to find out if the AP government had made any changes to the height of the dam. The state government had announced plans to reduce the height of the irrigation dam from 45.72 meters to 41.15 meters to due fund crunch. The Union government had informed the AP government that funds for the project will be as per the 2013-14 pricing and that no additional funds will be provided.
The Andhra Pradesh State Water Users Association Federation (APSWUAF) had pointed out that the drop in height would impact the storage capacity of the reservoir, which will fall from 194 TMC to 140 TMC. The association claimed that the reduced water capacity will impact irrigation activity at Krishna, West and East Godavari, and Vishakhapatnam districts. The move is also expected to impact the Rayalaseema Drought Mitigation Projects, Uttarandhra Sujala Sravanthi, Palnadu Drought Mitigation and other projects.
The CPI leaders gave a call for â€˜Chalo Polavaramâ€™ but were arrested en route and kept under house arrest at Rajamahendravaram city on Sunday. Ramakrishna was detained and kept at the River Bay resort, reported The Hindu. Police also arrested several other CPI leaders from Krishna, East and West Godavari districts who were on their way to Polavaram.
Speaking to the Hindu, Ramakrishna said the delegation also had plans to meet the people displaced by the project and discuss issues related to their rehabilitation and resettlement. The leaders said they had even obtained permission from the project authorities on Saturday to visit the site and view the ongoing works.