HYDERABAD: Rajya Sabha member and senior Congress leader V Hanumantha Rao has vowed to stall the bill, which allows merger of the seven mandals in Khammam district with Andhra Pradesh to facilitate construction of the Polavaram irrigation project, in the Upper House of Parliament when it comes for debate.
Claiming that the members of the Left parties had promised him to extend their support to him in stalling the bill in the Rajya Sabha, Rao sought the cooperation of the TRS, the BJP and the TDP members from Telangana to him in obstructing the proposed amendment in the Upper House.
Speaking to reporters here on Sunday, the Congress veteran put the entire blame on the BJP-led NDA government for passage of the bill in the Lok Sabha.
“By having the Polavaram Bill passed in the Lok Sabha and planning to get the nod of the Rajya Sabha for the same, the NDA government has decided to leave hundreds and thousands of tribal people, who live in those seven mandals that are likely to be submerged in the Polavarm project, in the lurch. It is nothing but violation of the Constitution,” said Rao.
Stating that neither he nor other Telangana Congress leaders were opposing construction of the Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari, the Rajya Sabha member said that the only demand of theirs was that the design of the project should be modified so that the extent of the submergence of tribal hamlets would be reduced.
Recalling the recent statement of Union home minister Rajnath Singh that the Centre was committed to the resettlement and rehabilitation of tribal people who were likely to be displaced by the Polavaram project, Hanumantha Rao demanded that the Union government first resettle the tribals at a suitable place. “Only after making the tribals resettle at a suitable place should the government take steps to construct the Polavaram dam,” he suggested.
Alleging that Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu and Union urban development minister M Venkaiah Naidu played a key role in making the Centre to introduce the bill, Rao asked Telangana BJP leaders to prevail upon prime minister Narendra Modi to do justice to the lakhs of tribal people in Khammam district, who are likely to be displaced due to the Polavaram project.