Odisha urges Centre to defer Polavaram meeting

Bhubaneswar: Days after asking the Planning Commission not to grant revised investment clearance to the controversial multi-purpose Polavaram project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, the Odisha Government has requested the Centre to defer the proposed meeting between State Government and a Central expert team scheduled here for Friday.

Principal Secretary, Water Resources, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has written a letter in this regard to Ajay Tyagi, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

In his letter Mohapatra cited, the matter was sub judice as various clearances given to the project including Environmental and Forest clearances had been challenged in the apex court.  

It was also argued that the Andhra Pradesh Government had challenged National Environmental Appellate Authority’s (NEAA) disqualification of Environmental clearance granted by MoEF in favour of the Project in October 2005.

“The AP High Court has suspended the order of NEAA on 31.12.2007. A counter affidavit was filed by the Forest &Environment Department in AP High Court requesting to vacate the above mentioned interim order,” the letter read.

Meanwhile, the apex court has allowed the transfer petition filed by Odisha to transfer the writ petition filed before the AP High Court.

Besides, a number of technical issues like Design flood and reservoir operation schedule are yet to be resolved before going ahead with any sort of discussion regarding the project, the missive mentioned.

The State Government has also requested to reimpose the stop work order at the project site, which the Ministry had lifted in May this year.

It reasoned that any construction activity of Head works of the Project would adversely affect the interests of the State.

On June 1, strongly opposing construction of the Project Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Planning Commission deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia, "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."