BHUBANESWAR: The BJD’s silence over Polavaram issue following the two-year extension given by the Centre for construction work related to the multipurpose project in Andhra Pradesh has raised questions over the regional outfit’s stand after the changed political equation in the state.
That the BJD no longer gives the issue much importance was evident from its muted response to the recent decision of the Centre.
The issue was raised during the ongoing session of the Assembly by BJD as well as Congress members. However, the BJD did not officially react to the decision of the Centre.
Polavaram dam project was a major plank of the BJD in its campaign against the Centre for the last several years and the party had also launched agitations over the issue many times.
The regional outfit had also set up a committee comprising several senior leaders to visit the dam site and submit a report.
However, the committee never met and the issue was also forgotten thereafter.
The committee members also never visited the site of the dam. An Assembly committee was also formed on Polavaram. But like the BJD panel, its findings never came to light.
The BJD has not taken any steps to bring facts on the Polavaram project before the public except launching agitation over the issue against the BJP Government at the Centre.
However, the political situation has undergone a change in Odisha following the General Elections with the BJD and BJP getting closer.
The two political parties, who were bitter foes earlier, have now turned allies which culminated with the BJD gifting a Rajya Sabha seat to BJP.
The dam issue had sparked protests both in and outside the Assembly for the last five years as BJD MLAs used to disrupt proceedings in the House.
The regional outfit had also organised a 12-hour hartal in four southern districts of Odisha in July, 2014 to protest against passing of the Andhra Reorganisation Bill in Lok Sabha, which paved way for construction of the Polavaram project.
In a written reply to a question, the State Government informed the Assembly in the ongoing session that 15 villages and 10 hamlets in Malkangiri district will be submerged by the project which will also affect 6,400 persons including 5,800 tribals.
In 2011, the UPA government had asked Andhra Pradesh to stop construction work of the project.
But in 2014, the NDA government scrapped the ‘Stop Work Order’ and declared Polavaram a national project to allow construction work.
The Centre has kept the ‘Stop Work Order’ in abeyance again to allow construction works for two years.
The Centre has given 2-year extension to construction work related to the project
Political situation has changed in Odisha after the General Elections with BJD and BJP getting closer