Polavaram project: Odisha seeks NCST intervention to resolve row

Bhubaneswar: Odisha government today sought intervention of the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in the Polavaram project row with Andhra Pradesh which it said would result in displacement of about 5,000 tribals of the state, a release from the Chief Minister’s Office said.

The discussion on the inter-state project came about when the commission’s chairman Nand Kumar Sai met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the secretariat here.

During the meeting Patnaik said that at least 5,000 tribals living in Malkangiri district would be displaced due to the Polavaram project. Therefore NCST should immediately intervene as the interest of thousands of tribals is in danger, Patnaik was quoted as saying in the release.

Earlier, Patnaik had in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi sought his intervention and demanded that the Polavaram project by Andhra Pradesh be stopped in the interest of the tribals.

Odisha Chief Minister also drew Sai’s attention to the provisions under Article 275(1) of the Constitution and the Tribal Sub-Plan under which central assistance should be given to tribals saying that there has been reduction in assistance for tribals and delay in payment of pre-matric and post-matric scholarship for tribal students.

During the discussion, Sai praised Odisha government’s steps in rehabilitation of tribals after displacement from Similipal National Park, the CMO release said.

He also lauded Odisha government’s Akankhya Yojana for higher education of tribal students, it said adding that the NCST chairman also discussed the problems of the tribals displaced in Jharsuguda and Rourkela.