HYDERABAD: There is no proposal with the AP irrigation department to increase height of the proposed Polavaram project from 150 feet to 186 feet. Allaying the fears of Telangana state, AP irrigation officials confirmed with Express on Saturday that there was no such proposal.
It was reported that the Polavaram project height would be increased by 36 feet so that AP could store 500 tmc water instead of the proposed 194.6 tmc. This created a flutter among the people of Telangana state, as any increase in height would damage the prospects of the Telangana further.
Reacting to this, Telangana irrigation minister T Harish Rao said that they would not allow AP to increase the height of Polavaram by 36 feet. “We will consult Orissa and Chhattisgarh states and jointly oppose any proposal to increase height of the Polavaram project,” Harish Rao said.
“The increase in Polavaram project height will be at the cost of TS, lakhs of tribals and also at the cost of Lord Rama temple in Bhadrachalam,” Harish Rao said.
He recalled that that even if Polavaram was constructed with 150 feet height, as many as 277 villages would be submerged and around two lakh Adivasis would be dislocated. ‘’If the height of the project is further increased, the entire Lord Rama temple in Bhadrachalam will be submerged in backwaters,’’ he feared.
However, when contacted, top irrigation officials clarified that there was no proposal to increase the height of Polavaram project.
The present design of Polavaram project with a height of 150 feet was prepared after the second agreement reached between AP, Chhattisgarh and Orissa in 1980. “There may be a proposal to construct Polavaram project with 186 feet height when the first agreement was reached among these states in 1946. But, there is no such plan in the second agreement signed in 1980.” an official clarified.
“As per the AP Reorganisation Act, the Polavaram Authority will be formed and the construction will be taken up by the Centre. AP cannot increase the height of the project on its own. The Polavaram Authority and the Centre will elicit the opinion of Telangana, Orissa and Chhattisgarh states if at all AP proposed to increase the height of Polavaram project dam,” official sources said.
Sources added that there would be no change in the design of Polavaram project.