Following the Odisha government challenging the Central government’s decision to give national project status to Polavaram project on river Godavari, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments to frame the issues for arguments.
A two-member SC bench comprising of Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Deepak Gupta passed the order after a petition filed by the Odisha government pointed out that the project would submerge close to 600 habitations in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana, and also submerge about 8,000 acres of forest land and 500 acres of wildlife sanctuary.
The Odisha government had in their petition mentioned that the project is in violation of the Bachawat Tribunal order. There was a need to cancel the permissions granted to the project to ensure that there was no damage to Odisha, they said, and further added that according National project status to Polavaram was not correct.
The Odisha government argued that the project’s environment clearance was cancelled by the National Environment Appellate Authority in 2007, but the AP High Court had stayed it as an interim measure. The Ministry of Environment and Forests had also given a direction to stop the construction work of the project on February 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance, the petition added.
The counsel for AP government told the Supreme Court during the course of hearing that the governments of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Telangana were not revealing the problems facing them despite having three meetings on the issue. The counsels of these states raised objections to this statement.
The bench then directed all the four states to frame the issues for arguments by July 30. The bench made it clear that the court would decide the issues if the states do not come up with issues for arguments by July 30, and posted the matter to July 30 for hearing, reported The New Indian Express.