Odisha opposes construction of Polavaram dam

Bhubaneswar: Strongly opposing construction of Polavaram dam in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, Odisha government on Saturday asked the Planning Commission of India not to grant revised investment clearance to the controversial multi-purpose project.
 
"As the matter is sub judice in the Apex Court, it will be prudent to wait till the judgement is given as the project parameter and estimates may change," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Planning Commission deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia.
 
Stating that the Odisha government has filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging the Ministry of Environment and Forest's environmental clearance, Patnaik pointed out that the state administration also opposed to the R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement) clearance accorded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MOTA).
 
"The state government has prayed the apex court to declare both the clearance null and void," the Chief Minister said.
 
Patnaik also said that no public hearing was conducted in the affected Malkangiri district of Odisha.
 
"Instead, the public hearing was conducted in Khammam district of Andhra Pradesh," he said adding that the environmental clearance granted by the MoEF in favour of Polavaram project was set aside by the National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA).
 
The NEAA also directed to conduct public hearing in the affected areas of Odisha and Chhattishgarh, the Chief Minister said in the letter to to Planning Commission.
 
However, the orders of NEAA were challenged by the government of Andhra Pradesh in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
 
The AP High Court has issued an interim order on December 31, 2007 suspending the orders of the NEAA until further order.
 
The state pollution control board as well as the forest and environment department of Odisha have filed detailed counter before the Andhra Pradesh High Court.
 
The state government of Odisha had also filed a transfer petition before the Supreme Court to transfer the writ petition pending in the Andhra Pradesh High Court to the Apex Court. The Supreme Court has accepted the transfer petition of Odisha and Chhattishgarh, he said.
 
The state government had been all along claiming that a large portion of Malkangiri district would be submerged if the Polavaram project was allowed in the neighbouring state.
 
Odisha government has also filed suits challenging technical clearance and forest clearance granted to Polavaram project by Central Water Commission and MoEF respectively.
 
The state has also opposed to proposal of declaring the Polavaram project as a National Project and filed a case for a stay on final forest clearance approval of Polavaram project granted by MoEF.
 
Odisha too has filed a counter in the Supreme Court on the report of the court's appointed Expert Gopala Krishnan.
 
".. Various clearance given to Polavaram project (also called Indira Sagar project) are either in violation of Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal (GWDT) Award or not conforming to the national standard," Patnaik said.
 
The TAC (technical advisory committee) clearance to Polavaram project was given by the CWC without examining whether the project is in accordance with the GWDT Award and without thorough technical scrutiny of the project report, Patnaik said in the letter.