Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 8:
A day after the Centre announced to foot the bill towards the construction of the controversial Polavaram irrigation project, the members of Odisha’ Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today raised the issue in Lok Sabha.
MPs Prasanna Kumar Patasani and Bhatruhari Mahatab drew the attention of Speaker Sumitra Mahajan on the Polavaram project.
“The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change had banned any kind of construction at Polavaram project site. Despite that how Centre sanctioned Rs 10874.58 crore for the project. With the construction of the dam, it will submerge several tribal villages in Malkangiri. It is a great loss to my state,” Patsani said.
Earlier in the day, the BJD parliamentarians of both the Houses today met at at the national capital and decided to take up the Polavaram dam project issue in the parliament.
“It is an inter-state project and decision should be taken after consulting the three states (Odisha, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh). The Centre is taking decisions unitarily and has even declared the project a national project,” BJD MP, Arjun Charan Sethi said outside the parliament.
“Like the UPA government was showing step-motherly treatment towards the state, the NDA government is also doing the same thing. We should be consulted and our concerns should also be taken into account. Odisha and Chhattisgarh should be consulted before the Centre takes a final decision on the matter,” MP AU Singhdeo said.
Terming it unconstitutional, the BJD MPs would stage a protest near the Mahatma Gandhi statue tomorrow.
It may be mentioned that Minister of state for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat yesterday told the Rajya Sabha, in a written reply, that the Union government would bear the expenses of the construction of the irrigation project as per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The expenses incurred after April 1 last year will be borne by the Centre, the minister said.
Notably, the cost estimate of Polavaram project was fixed at Rs 16010.45 crore of which the Andhra Pradesh government has already spent Rs 5135.87 crore. The remaining Rs 10874.58 crore will be provided by the Centre.
It is feared that the Indira Sagar Polavaram dam project on Godavar River would submerge at least six villages in Odisha and four in Chhattisgarh. The two states have ob jected to the clearances granted to the dam, declared a national project, and have petitioned the Supreme Court.
The dam is to irrigate 300,000 hectares and generate 960 MW of power for AP.