Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, Dec 8:
Union Minister of State for Water Resources Sanjeev Balyan today said that work on the disputed Polavaram project is in advanced stages and can’t be halted.
Balyan said so in Lok Sabha today while replying to BJD MP Balabhadra Majhi who wanted to know the status of Polavaram project, and how it was awarded national project status even though public hearing in the affected villages of Odisha were not held.
“I fail to see how the work on Polavaram project is going on even though public hearing in affected villages of Odisha and Chhattisgarh are yet to be held. This is against the constitution,” said Majhi in the Lok Sabha today.
Replying to Majhi, Balyan informed the Lower house that a meeting was convened on this context by Union Water Resources Department on June 2, 2016 and both Odisha and Chhattisgarh had been informed about public hearing.
“The public hearing was held by Andhra Pradesh State Pollution Control Board on October 10, 2005 at Bhadrachalam (Khammam District). The respective pollution control boards of Chhattisgarh and Odisha states were requested to arrange for public hearing in the affected villages in their respective territory. The Government of Andhra Pradesh also requested them for conducting Public hearing in the respective states for the construction of Protective embankment along the rivers Sabari and Sileru to avoid submergence in their territories due to construction of Polavaram Project. The respective State Pollution Control Boards have not conducted public hearing,” Balyan added.
He, however, assured that the Union Government will extend all possible help to Odisha and Chhattisgarh, should they face any difficulties arising out of the project.