Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi, May 30:
With President Pranab Mukherjee giving his assent to the ordinance according it the national project status, the controversial Polavaram multi-purpose dam project, which has been strongly opposed by Odisha and Chhatisgarh governments, moved a step forward towards its final implementation.
Naidu said the decision to accord national project status to Polavaram project was taken by the UPA government and the NDA , which had also promised the same earlier is now only living up to its promise.
All eyes are on Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s next move in the ‘old dispute’. Patnaik, who is now in Delhi, is expected to take up the matter with the Modi government, sources said. But it is not clear why the ruling Biju Janata Dal which waged a war of sorts against the project has chosen to lie low on the new developments.
The Odisha government has been airing its opposition to the project on the ground that once the project once implemented would result in submergence of a large part of Malkangiri district and the resultant displacement of tribal people in the affected area.
The Odisha government has been maintaining that at least 30 villages in Malkangiri district will be submerged while several other villages are likely to be vulnerable to floods on a regular basis once the Polavaram project is up and running. The local tribal people of the concerned villages have also been opposing the project tooth and nail.
The state of Chhattisgarh too is opposed to the project. While several cases both filed by Odisha and Chhattisgarh opposing the project are pending before the Supreme Court, the dethroned Union cabinet on May 1 decided to constitute a Polavaram Project Authority. The Odisha government had then announced that it will be challenging the Cabinet decision in the Supreme Court.
However, with Polavaram Project Ordinance receiving the Union Cabinet’s nod on Tuesday and the presidential assent on Thursday, the die is cast.
Telengana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) chief Chandrasekhar Rao has been opposing the Polavaram Project Ordinance because it proposes the merger of seven Mandals of Telengana with Seemandhra.