Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 20:
Biju Janata Dal supporters today held simultaneous demonstrations in front of the offices of collectors across seven south Odisha districts protesting against the Polavaram project.
The workers of the party held demonstrations in Kandhamal, Ganjam, Rayagada, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput and Nabarangpur.
While BJD Spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda led the demonstrations in Koraput, Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi and senior leader Bhupinder Singh led the show in Nabarangpur. Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare (FS&CW) Minister Sanjay Das Burma and Rajya Sabha MP N Bhaskar Rao led the campaign in Rayagada, senior Spokesperson Surya Narayan Patro and MP Sidhant Mohapatra led the campaign in Berhampur.
“This land belongs to us. We shall not allow schemes that will displace local populace here and benefit people in some other state,” said Nanda addressing a rally in Koraput.
Majhi, however, was of slightly different opinion on the issue. “We are not against the project. However, it has to be constructed as per the plans approved earlier. We are against raising the height. We are also against the Center issuing it a national project status and giving it preferential treatment”.
The party has announced to carry out strikes across the seven districts starting October 1.
Congress, however, questioned the intention of the demonstrations.
“I wonder why the government has not applied for a stay order from the Supreme Court yet. The Supreme Court won’t be a silent spectator if at all the project affects the interests of the state and violates laws and constitution. This means, the State Government is not interested to protect the interests of the state,” said Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly Narasingha Mishra.
Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister BJP’s Dharmendra Pradhan, however, appreciated the efforts of the State.
“Apart from Odisha, this project also affects Chhattisgarh and Telangana. These states have taken the issue to a judicial platform. We welcome it. BJP Odisha has presented its side clearly before the Union Government and has said that the strategy on Polavaram is affecting the interests of the state,” said Pradhan.