Odisha rejects Polavaram water

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Bhubaneswar: Maintaining that the Polavaram multi-purpose project is of no good for Odisha, the state government on Monday said it did not require water from the dam over river Godavari as offered by neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

"Odisha does not need Polavaram project. The state also does not require water from the AP project. Our water requirement has already been met by the Kolab project. If at all we require water, those can be directly drawn from river Saberi through Mega Lift Irrigation project," Water Resource Secretary S C Mohapatra told reporters here.

Mohapatra was replying a question on the Andhra Pradesh government`s offer of five TMC (thousand million cubic feet) water from Polavaram multi-purpose project. "The state government has already sanctioned the Mega Lift Irrigation project. We can use it if there is any deficit of water for irrigation," he said.

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Kiran Reddy in a recent statement had said that Odisha`s loss because of Polavaram project was "very small" and the gain "much more".

While Odisha would lose around 2000 acres (due to submergence for Polavaram project), it would get five TMC water, Reddy had said, adding that to store 5 TMC water 4000 to 5000 acres of land and Rs 600 to Rs 700 crore would be required. But Odisha would benefit as the storage would be done in Andhra, Reddy had said.

Meanwhile, Odisha government is yet to take a decision on Andhra Pradesh`s proposal of settling the issue through discussion.

"We have sought some details about Polavaram project from Andhra government. We should know what exactly they want to discuss with us," Mohapatra said, adding that a case was pending in the Supreme Court in this regard. Odisha government had gone to the apex court challenging the Rs 16,000 crore Polavaram project.

Official sources said Andhra Pradesh had offered to pay Odisha Rs 650 crore as grant for constructing a 30-km long embankment inside the state for Polavaram project. "It would be foolish for us to accept such an offer," said a senior official, adding that a large area in Odisha`s Malkangiri district would be submerged once the Polavaram project becomes operational.

Meanwhile, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had sought Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s intervention into the dispute with Andhra Pradesh over Polavaram project as the neighbouring state had reportedly finalised tenders for construction.

The state had been opposing Polavaram project since 2007 and filed at least two cases in the Supreme Court seeking to stop the dam project over Godavari.

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