Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 27:
The Odisha government has declined to conduct the public hearing in Odisha for the under construction controversial Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh.
The state government through a letter has informed Andhra Pradesh that it would take a call on the issue after Supreme Court’s verdict on the project.
The Centre had asked Andhra Pradesh to conduct the public hearing for the project with Odisha and Chhattisgarh which would be affected by it. Andhra Pradesh government had sought Odisha’s opinion on it.
Member secretary of the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) through a letter to the principal secretary of Water Resources department of Andhra Pradesh has informed that the state government would not conduct the public hearing for Polavaram.
Since public hearing was not conducted National Environment Appellate Authority (NEAA) had scrapped the environment clearance of the project. However, Andhra Pradesh High Court had quashed the NEAA order. Under such circumstances it won’t be proper to hold the public hearing, the state government has stated in the letter.
Besides, Polavaram matter is pending in the Supreme Court. The state government will take a decision on the issue after apex court gives its verdict, the state government said in the letter.
Notably, as per provisions under the law conduct of public hearing is mandatory in the to be affected areas before environment clearance is granted to a project. But no public hearings have been conducted in Odisha and Chhattisgarh which are going to be affected by the project.
Despite that Centre’s sanction of funds for the project has been opposed by Odisha and Chhattisgarh. BJD MPs had also raised the issue in the Parliament.
Hundreds of villages in 12 panchayats in Malkangiri district are likely to be inundated due to the project.