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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Dec 1: 

Even as Odisha continues to fight against the raised height of Polavaram project and requests a stay order on further construction, Union MoS of Water Resources Minister Sanjeev Kumar Balyan today said that the project is planned to be completed by the end of 2018.

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In his reply to an unstarred question by MP Nandi Yellaiah in Lok Sabha, Balyan further provided the status of construction and funding details.

According to the Minister, construction at headworks stand at 40 percent for earthwork, seven percent for embankment, and four percent for concrete lining. In the right main canal, progress on earthwork stands at 99 percent while lining and structure work stand at 68 and 80 percent respectively. For the left main canal, earthwork completion status stands at 83 percent while lining and structure work stand at 61 and 28 percent respectively.

Ever since the project was declared as a National Project during 2014 by an act of Parliament (Andhra Pradesh Reorganization Act, 2014), Union Government, so far, has approved Rs 950 crore out of which Rs 250 crore was provided during 2014-15, Rs 600 crore during 2015-16 and the remaining Rs 100 crore during 2016-17.

In a related development, replying to an unstarred question by MP V Vijayasai Reddy in Rajya Sabha, Minister of State in the Ministry Of Tribal Affairs Jaswantsinh Bhabhor yesterday said that his Ministry has received petitions from tribals and their representatives to ensure that tribals and forest dwellers get their forest rights in the entire Godavari valley in states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

He further added that based on the representations received, the National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) had constituted a team to visit the Polavaram Project.

The then members of NCST had visited the Polavaram project from January 7,2014 to January 11, 2014 and submitted a report dated January 22, 2014. The NCST has advised to concerned state governments to take immediate action for providing pattas under Forest Right Act, 2006 to displaced tribal families.

Bhabhor further confirmed that the Union Government has not invited the Forum on Social and Human Rights for a meeting to sort out the issues of displacement of tribals in Godavari valley including Odisha.

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