Bhubaneswar: In a major setback to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Supreme Court today rejected the State government’s plea to stop the ongoing work on the controversial Polavaram dam in Andhra Pradesh.
A three-member bench of the apex court, while hearing the plea, refused to order a stay on the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project on the Godavari river in AP.
This apart, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to ask Odisha and Chhattisgarh to submit complete details about the exact amount of areas which would be submerged due to the Polavaram project.
In addition, the top court said the public hearing can be conducted in these two states only after it received information about the total number of people to be affected by the proposed project along with compensation and rehabilitation of the affected people.
“The court rejected the State’s plea to stop construction works and directed the two states (Odisha and Chhattisgarh) to furnish complete information about affected areas and people due to the project,” said petitioner’s counsel Sravan Kumar.
The court posted the next hearing of the case to first week of January.
On November 29, the court had asked the Centre to appoint an independence agency to conduct a public hearing in the above two states (Chhattisgarh and Odisha)”.
The project is under construction in West Godavari District and East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh and its reservoir spreads to parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
On November 29, the Centre and Andhra Pradesh had told the bench that there were no changes in the Polavaram project.
The environment clearance of the project was cancelled by the National Environment Appellate Authority in 2007 but the Andhra Pradesh High Court had stayed it as an interim measure.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had given a direction to stop the construction work of the project on February 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance.