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Polavaram issue echoes in Odisha Assembly

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Dec 8:

The Odisha Assembly today witnessed heated debate over the Centre’s decision to fund the Polavaram project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh despite a ban by the Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change on any kind of construction at the project site.

Odisha assemblyDuring Zero Hour in the House, BJD member from Barchana Amar Prasad Satpathy drew the attention of the Speaker to the issue while objecting to the Union Minister of state for Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Prof. Sanwar Lal Jat’s written reply yesterday in the Rajya Sabha, that the Union government would bear the expenses of the construction of the irrigation project as per Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.

Satpathy demanded for a censure motion in the House against the Union Minister’s statement while calling upon the people of the state to raise their voice against the Centre’s decision.

The BJD member further demanded that the House Committee should pay utmost importance to the issue. He stated that it was not a case of Centre’s neglect of Odisha but an example of contempt.

Congress chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati said the project is against the interest of the state. He said we will oppose it tooth and nail irrespective of party affiliations. Many tribals and Dalits in Malkangiri district will lose their lands if the project comes up, he stated.

Bahinipati said several tribal villages and their lands will submerge. This will be no way beneficial for the state, he added.

BJP MLA Pradip Purohit tried to shift the blame on the Congress. Purohit said Polavaram is a project of 1980, and at that time there were Congress governments both at the state and the Centre. The Congress then never raised a voice that the state will be affected by the project, he added.

The BJP MLA was also critical of the BJD government in the state. He said the state government had no data on how many tribals will be affected by the Polavaram project. The government has no idea on how many villages and what area of forests will be submerged due to the project, he added.