This comes after a complaint filed by Chhattisgarh and Odisha, that the project did not have environmental clearance.

Polavaram dam row After facing resistance over environmental clearance AP gets Centre nod
news News Friday, July 07, 2017 - 09:34

The Union Environmental and Forest Ministry has granted an extension to Andhra Pradesh, for continuing construction work on the Polavaram dam.

The Deccan Chronicle reported that the extension was granted on the recommendation of the Water Resource Ministry, after work was halted, due to a complaint filed by the governments of Chhattisgarh and Odisha, that the project did not have environmental clearance.

Activists including former Energy Secretary EAS Sarma have also contended that the project was ‘illegal’, as it had no valid environmental clearance.

This comes one month after Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the construction of a coffer dam at the Polavaram project site in West Godavari district. 

This also comes two days after former MP Vundavalli Arun Kumar hit out against the ruling TDP government, and accused it of neglecting the project.

Addressing media persons in Vijayawada, he said, "Polavaram project has been the people's dream for decades. It has been conceived with an objective of irrigating several lakh acres of barren land, by diverting water, which would otherwise go waste into the sea."

"The project has eluded people for too long for no fault of their own. It can't afford to wait longer," he added.

Though conceptually proposed in 1941, it was during the term of YS Rajasekhara Reddy that the project began gathering steam.

Since then, Naidu has also taken personal interest to ensure speedy completion of the project.

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. 

All neighbouring states of Andhra have opposed it in some form or the other, with Odisha being the biggest critic of the project.

While the Telangana government has moved the National Green Tribunal (NGT), seeking a detailed survey, Odisha has been putting constant pressure on the Centre, claiming that the project is against the interest of the state.

"The Centre along with the Andhra Pradesh government is acting against Odisha's interests on Polavaram. Our fight on these issues will continue. We have been fighting for the state's pride and rights. We won't tolerate anyone hurting Odisha's pride," Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik had said in December last year.

 

Read: A scandal of silence: How Andhra’s Polavaram dam project is snatching away lives of tribal people

 

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