Cong-BJP ask Naveen to stop shedding croc tear over Polavaram

Bhubaneswar: Odisha assembly today witnessed heated exchange between ruling BJD and opposition members over the Polavaram multi-purpose project of Andhra Pradesh with the latter asking Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to stop shedding crocodile tears.

"Odisha government is never serious about Polavaram project. The act of opposition to the project is confined to filing a case in Supreme Court. Therefore, the chief minister should stop shedding crocodile tear," said Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan during zero hour.

BJP legislature party leader K V Singhdeo also slammed Patnaik and wanted to know why an all-party meeting had not been convened by the state government on Polavaram issue.

"Crocodile tears shed by BJD government will not help to stop the project. The tear instead may help in filling the Polavaram dam," Singhdeo said.

Asking the ruling BJD to stop doing politics over the issue, the BJP leader assured the house that his party was with the state government if it would fight for the cause of the people in areas facing submergence due to Polavaram project.

Ridiculing the non-Congress government in 1978, Harichandan claimed that the then state government had signed an inter-state agreement giving Odisha`s consent for raising the Polavaram dam height from 145 feet to 150 feet.

"The Polavaram project is under construction as the expert committee of the Supreme Court in its report said that Godavari Water Tribunal awards are not being violated in the process. The state government did not take step to convince the expert committee that Polavaram project would adversely affect the people of Odisha," the Congress leader said.

While Andhra Pradesh had already made it clear that about seven villages in Odisha`s Malkangiri district would be submerged due to the project, the state government had no information about possible damage, he claimed.

"The union water resource minister has assured us that the Centre would never allow Andhra Pradesh to construct Polavaram project if it causes damage to the people of Odisha," said Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Sigh of Congress.

He asked the chief minister to immediately convene an all-party meeting to chalk out a strategy to oppose the project.

Ruling BJD`s Ranandra Pratap Swain, on the other hand blamed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for allowing Andhra Pradesh government to go ahead with the "anti-Odisha" project.

The Central Water Commission (CWC) never bothered to take views of the state government before giving clearance to Andhra Pradesh government to go ahead with the project.

"It is a joint effort of Congress ruled Andhra Pradesh and the Congress led UPA government to construct an anti-Odisha project," Swain alleged.

Swain said instead of resolving the dispute between two states, the Centre had been a party to it by supporting Andhra Pradesh.