BHUBANESWAR: Intensifying its agitation against Polavaram irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh, the ruling BJD today urged President Pranab Mukherjee to direct the Centre for immediate withdrawal of clearances accorded for construction of the controversial dam.
BJD leaders today staged a dharna near Raj Bhawan as a mark of protest against Polavaram project. A delegation led by ST and SC Development Minister Lal Bihari Himirika submitted a memorandum addressed to President through Governor S C Jamir.
"We demand that the construction of Polavaram project should be immediately stopped. We have also demanded reduction of dam height. The party has also sought the President's intervention to protect the interest of tribal people of south Odisha," Himirika told reporters after submitting the memorandum.
The memorandum also said the central government agencies violated norms of Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal judgment while according several clearances for Polavaram project.
Since a large number of tribal people of the state will be affected by the project, obtaining clearance from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs is mandatory. The Andhra Prradesh government has neither taken clearance of from the Tribal Affairs Ministry nor conducted 'gram sabha' in in the affected villages, the memorandum said.
Alleging that the Ministry of Environment and Forest has accorded environment clearance (EC) in a "fraudulent" manner, the BJD said that the same has been challenged in the court of law.
Objecting to grant of national project status to Polavaram project and sanction of funds by the Centre when several cases are pending befor the Supreme Court, the ruling party requested the President to protect the interest of Odisha.
Terming the erstwhile UPA government and the present NDA government at the Centre as "anti-Odisha", BJD demanded justice for the tribal people.
The BJD claimed that at least 6,818 tribal families would be displaced by the project which will submerge 25 villages under Motu tahasil in Malkangiri district.
The party has planned to hold stage protest meetings on September 20 in front of the district collector offices in Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Ganjam, Gajapati and Kandhamal.