Forest dept’s tells NGT: Centre helping Andhra to complete Polavaram proj indirectly

Bhubaneswar: The State’s Forest and Environment department has filed an affidavit before the National Green Tribunal (NGT) alleging the Centre has indirectly helped the Andhra Pradesh government to complete the Polavaram project by giving work extension.

Elaborating on the affidavit Suresh Mohapatra, the Forest and Environment Secretary, said, “The Government of India has given extension three-four times after giving stop work order to the Andhra Pradesh government thereby helping the project completion.”

He added, “As the matter is sub judice before the Supreme Court, public hearing cannot be done without the permission of the apex court.”

The NGT has posted October 16 or 17 for hearing on the case filed by an Andhra Pradesh-based non-governmental organisation. The tribunal had asked the Centre, the AP and Odisha state governments to file affidavits.

Meanwhile, Prashant Nanda, BJD spokesperson, said, “Be it the UPA or NDA, the parties in power at the Centre sacrificed the rules to help the completion of the Polavaram project.”

Refuting the charges Prithviraj Harichandan, BJP general secretary, said, “Who had stopped the Odisha government to apprise the SC while giving evidence and put a stay on the Polavaram work. The State should stop hiding its failures and take the matter seriously. It has still the time to wake up from the deep slumber.”

Mounting his attack on BJD and BJP, Pradeep Majhi, Congress leader, said, “In case of the Polavaram project, the viewpoint of the State government and Centre shows people of Odisha will only suffer the loss. The State govt is fighting a lost battle. From the very beginning Odisha should have made its stands clear and put forth the demand.”

Notably, the Centre has already said it would fully fund construction work of the Polavaram project which have a got a national project status.