HYDERABAD: Highlighting the disadvantages of Polavaram irrigation project, a multi-purpose project, which is detrimental to the very existence of the tribes, their culture and traditions, speakers at a round-table meeting suggested the Central and state governments to come up with an alternative proposal to build the massive irrigation project.
Anti-Polavaram Project United Struggle Forum organised a round-table meet here on Wednesday.
Speaking on the occasion, M Dharma Rao, former chief engineer, said the Polavaram reservoir would submerge 2 lakh acres of productive farm land and forest land and this is a great loss to the country in view of growing population and dwindling availability of agricultural land.
“More than 300 villages would be submerged and more than 2 lakh people of which 65 per cent are tribals and Dalits will lose their livelihood and have to be displaced,'' he said.
He suggested that there is, therefore, a strong case for a second thought and explore an alternative location and design of the dam to avoid the colossal loss in terms of sufferings and disruption of lifestyle of the local inhabitants and largescale destruction of natural forests.
“While approving the project design, the Central Water Commission (CWC) should take into consideration the various alternatives proposals in lieu of the present proposal, technical and financial feasibility of the project, dam safety aspect and the other relevant technical issues, the actual additional ayacut area which gets added on account of this project,'' he added.
Explaining in brief the alternative proposals, Dharma Rao said diversion of water from Sileru river from a location below lower Sileru hydro electric project into Yeleru river through a tunnel to meet the left bank requirements for irrigation and water supply purpose, diversion of water from Dummugudem ayacut across Godavari river through a canal and crossing the Godavari-Krishna ridge through a tunnel to meet the left bank requirements and Krishna basin requirements.
Asserting that the Polavaram project envisages construction of a dam across Godavari river near Polavaram village to form a big reservoir to irrigate about 7.20 lakh acres with canals, Midiyam Babu Rao, former MP and CPM leader, said the project is now being implemented in violation of the norms and stipulations of varied legislation regarding protection of environment, tribal self-rule and resettlement and rehabilitation.
Prof Kodandaram, convener, Telangana Joint Action Committee (TJAC) extended his support to the Anti-Polavaram Project United Struggle Forum's initiative in fighting against the construction of Polavaram project.