Patnaik Urges PM To Stop Polavaram Project Immediately

Bhubaneswar: The Polavaram project on Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh will cause “permanent injury” to the interests of Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Monday and sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention to stop its construction immediately.

Patnaik, who had earlier written several letters to the Centre opposing the project, wrote to the prime minister in the wake of the environment ministry’s recent decision to keep the stop work order in abeyance for a further period of two years.

“I would earnestly request you to kindly intervene in the matter and give appropriate direction to stop the construction work of the Polavaram Project immediately until all the pending issues are resolved,” Patnaik wrote to the Prime Minister.

The state government has been opposing the project for its design which could pose danger for Odisha.

Once the project is completed there will be impounding of the reservoir and it may not be possible to change the design and operating parameters of the project thereafter, Patnaik said in the letter.

The chief minister also pointed out that the public hearing in Odisha on the project has not been held till date.

He also referred to an earlier letter written by him to Harsh Vardhan, the erstwhile environment minister.

“If the construction work of Polavaram project is not stopped forthwith, it will have immense adverse impact on the people living in the tribal districts of Malkangiri. The submergence of tribal villages resulting in mass displacement of primitive tribals, flooding of fertile agriculture lands and submergence of large extent of forest areas would have irreversible consequences,” Patnaik said.

All these can be avoided if an opportunity is given for a final resolution of the dispute pending before the Supreme Court. Polavaram project can be reformulated as per the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal award without causing large scale submergence in Odisha, Telangana and Chhattishgarh, he said.

“If the project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of all the pending cases, it will cause permanent injury to the interest of the state of Odisha and its people,” Patnaik said.