New Delhi, Dec 9 :
Over 1.5 lakh people will be affected due to construction of the Polavaram multi-purpose project in Andhra Pradesh, Environment and Forest minister Jayanthi Natarajan said in the Rajya Sabha today.
The minister MoEF said while a total of 1,77,275 persons will be affected by the project, 29 villages in West Godavari district, 42 villages in East Godavari district and 205 villages in Khammam district will face submergence.
Responding to a question in the Rajya Sabha she said Odisha and Chhattisgarh have raised objections to the implementation of the project as it will also cause submergence in some areas of their state.
It may be noted here that Odisha government has been opposing the Polvaram project on the ground that it would affect a large number of tribal villages and cause submergence of a sizable tract in Malkangiri district.
The minister said to address the fears expressed by both state governments, the AP government has proposed the construction of protective embankments on the banks of Sileru and Saberi rivers in Chhattisgarh and Odisha. She added the Andhra Pradesh government has also proposed a Resettlement and Rehabilitation plan for project affected persons in the two states.
Natarajan told the Upper House that as per the requirement of EIA notification 2006, the AP government was asked to ensure holding public hearing by the respective state government representatives in Chhattisgarh and Odisha for the proposed protective embankments and submit the outcome of the hearings to the ministry.
She said although Andhra Pradesh government has been requesting the state governments of Chhattisgarh and Odisha for conducting public hearings, these state governments are yet to do so.
Natarajan informed the House that Chhattisgarh had approached the Supreme Court in 2011 praying for ad-interim ex parte stay and injunction restraining Andhra Pradesh from proceeding further with the construction of the project besides setting aside clearances such as environment clearance, R&R clearance, forest clearance, TAC clearance etc.
The Environment Minister said the original suit is pending before the apex court .