Andhra to go ahead with Polavaram project

Bhubaneswar: Despite vehement opposition from riparian States like Odisha, Andhra Pradesh seems to be all set to go ahead with implementing its ambitious Indirasagar-Polavaram Multi-purpose Irrigation Project across Godavari river.

In his address on the first day of the budget session of Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly today, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan told the House that his government aims to complete the Polavaram project by March 2018.

Narasimhan said though allocation of a meagre Rs 100 crore for Polavaram in the Union budget has put the plans in disarray, the State would make all-out efforts to complete the dream project by date. He said the project would be the life-line of Andhra Pradesh and has been declared by the Centre as a national project.

First conceived in the 1940s, the irrigation project is likely to irrigate over 7 lakh acre in Andhra Pradesh and produce 960 MW of hydel energy. The project was estimated to cost Rs 16,500 crore in 2010-11.

However, neighbours Odisha, Telangana and Chhattisgarh have voiced serious objection to the project. Odisha fears that if the project is commissioned, it would require massive displacement of tribals and cause irreparable damage to as many as 25 villages in Malkangiri district due to inundation.

“People belonging to villages of Motu and Pushiguda panchayats in Malkangiri district say their area had been submerged in 2006 floods, prior to establishment of the Polvaram project. They feel if the dam comes up, then their villages will be permanently submerged due to the backwaters of Godavari river,” said a team of tribal peasant leaders after visiting the areas likely to be submerged by the Polavaram project.