BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Ministry of Environment and Forests kept in abeyance the stop work order on Polavaram multipurpose project by one more year, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday sought the personal intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to cancel the order and stop construction of the project till all the pending issues are settled in the Supreme Court. “I am writing this letter to draw your personal attention to the magnitude of the consequences that people of Odisha will have to face, all of which can be avoided if only an opportunity is given for final resolution of the disputes pending before the Supreme Court,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
The project will lead to submergence of tribal land, flooding of fertile agricultural land and mass displacement of villages, he said and added that the project can be reformulated as per Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT) award without causing large scale submergence in the states of Odisha, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. “If the project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of all pending issues, it will cause permanent injury to the interest of Odisha and its people,” he said.
The Chief Minister alleged that the stop work order is being kept in abeyance on yearly basis, thereby allowing construction of the project without any change in its legal and factual position. The construction of Polavaram project is likely to be completed within the period given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests from July 3, 2018 to July 2, 2019, which will result in impounding of the reservoir, causing submergence in Malkangiri district.
He said construction of embankments requires diversion of forest land and will adversely impact the tribal villages and their population in Malkangiri district. “The stipulations given for forest clearance by MoEF and rehabilitation and resettlement clearance by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs cannot be complied by the Andhra Pradesh Government for construction of the embankments in Odisha as per the national standards following the guidelines and relevant Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) codes,” he said.