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Odisha lawmakers protest Polavaram Bill

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 12:

With the Polavaram project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh moving a step forward with the passage of the Andhra Reorganisation Bill that allows the merger of some villages and mandals of Telangana with Andhra in the Lok Sabha on Friday, the ruling BJD and Congress members in Odisha Assembly strongly protested Centre’s move while taking part in discussions on the budget demands of the Water Resources department.

 

Polavaram project
Polavaram project

Ruling party member from Athagarh Ranendra Pratap Swain demanded a white paper from the state government on Polavaram asking it to make clear its intent vis-à-vis the project.

Similarly, the ruling party member from Bhandaripokhari Prafulla Samal said “Odisha, which is not going to benefit from the project in any way, will continue to oppose it as it has been doing earlier. The central government should have held consultations with Odisha and Andhra governments before going ahead. This is a unilateral decision of the Central government and we strongly protest the move.”

Congress chief whip and member from Jeypore Taraprasad Bahinipati, while criticizing the BJD for its confused and unclear stand vis-à-vis Polavaram, urged all to come together on the issue irrespective of party affiliations. He said “it’s the soil which comes first and the party next”.

Bahinipati stated that while Andhra has already encroached on Kutia villages, it’s now eyeing Narayanpatna area in Koraput district. Chhattisgarh too has encroached on parts of the state along the border, he said.

Replying to the discussion on the demand of the Water Resources department on behalf of the chief minister, Parliamentary Affairs minister Bikram Keshari Arrukh told the House it would not be wise to comment on the matter since the matter is pending before the Supreme Court.

As many as 18 MLAs from different parties participated in the debate on the WR department’s demand following which the House approved a demand of Rs 5087.69 crore.