Odisha Sun Times Bureau
New Delhi/ Bhubaneswar, June 2:
Has the Prime Minister given any assurance to Odisha chief minister that he would ensure no part of the state will be affected by the proposed Polavaram multi-purpose dam ?
The official press release by the state government claims chief minister Patnaik, during his interaction, urged Prime Minister Modi to appreciate the concerns of Odisha and other states and not go ahead with the project.
However, there is no mention in the release about how the PM responded to Naveen Patnaik’s appeal to halt the project.
Informed sources said the Polavaram issue did not figure at all during the interaction the party MPs had with the PM in the presence of chief minister Patnaik. Five selected MPs were assigned the task of raising certain issues of the state but Polavaram was not part of their brief.
By all accounts, the BJD leadership appears to have shunned its earlier belligerent stand on the project which is coming up in neighbouring Seemandhra.
Political observers say, the reason behind the sudden softening in BJD’s stand on Polavaram is not far to seek. Naveen Patnaik is apprehensive about the fall outs of the ongoing and impending probes by the CBI and does not want to rub Modi the wrong way by taking an aggressive stance on a project that the latter has publicly committed to fast track.
Reacting to the ineffective manner in which Odisha’s stand on the Polavaram issue was projected today, a retired university professor said, “The chief minister as well as the ruling party leaders, who have been making tall claims about being the sole defenders of Odisha’s interests, will have a lot of explaining to do. If they backtrack in this matter for whatever reasons, they would stand exposed before the people of the state.”