Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday requested the union government to immediately stop construction work on the Polavaram irrigation project till the issues pertaining to the state are resolved.
In a letter to Union Environment and Forest Minister Harsh Vardhan, the Chief Minister said Odisha is not being informed on the issue of 'stop work order' being kept in abeyance from time to time by the ministry.
"The state of Odisha is not being informed on the issue of 'stop work order' being kept in abeyance from time to time by MoEF, thus allowing the construction of Polavaram headworks and distribution system uninterruptedly," said the Chief Minister.
He said the construction work on the Polavaram irrigation project is in violation of the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal Award, and it is being constructed without correctly assessing the backwater extent in the Sabari and Sileru limbs in the territory of Odisha.
He added that the construction of the dam along with the spillway is going on in full swing, which will result in submergence in the territory of Odisha.
The Chief Minister said he had earlier informed the Prime Minister that if the project is completed before the resolution of all the pending issues it will lead to a situation permanently affecting a large number of tribal people in Odisha.
Odisha has challenged the Polavaram project in the Supreme Court. It is being constructed by Andhra Pradesh and has been declared a national project by the Union government.
This is not the first time that Naveen Patnaik is writing to the Centre. In November last year, the Odisha chief minister had made a similar plea.
"If the multi-purpose project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of all pending issues, it will cause permanent injury to the interests of Odisha and its people," the Chief Minister had said at the time.
Patnaik alleged that the project was taken up by the Andhra Pradesh government unilaterally much before the Central Water Commission (CWC) clearance, based on plans/designs in violation of the GWDT award, and hence not agreed to by Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
The project work was on without even holding a public hearing in Odisha, a mandatory requirement for getting environmental clearance, the Odisha Chief Minister had earlier argued.