HYDERABAD: A Supreme Court bench has directed the Centre to inform it by Friday if a study on the effect of backwaters of Indira Sagar Polavaram project on river Godavari was necessary or not. “If it’s, how much time is needed? If not, then the court will fix a date for the hearing,” the bench noted.
The bench, comprising Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, was dealing with the petition filed by Odisha government. It had complained that the said project would submerge 600 habitations in Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Telangana. It also contended that 8,000 acres of forest land and 500 acres of wildlife sanctuary would be lost.
The Odisha government had also challenged the Centre’s decision to grant national project status to the multi-purpose Polavaram project on Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh. Counsels from Odisha and Telangana had submitted that a study was required on the effect of the discharge of water at the probable maximum FRL of 140-150 with a design of 50 lakh cusec. The bench then directed Centre to inform the court by Friday if such a study was required.
Earlier, the Odisha government submitted that the project works were taken up in violation of Bachawat tribunal order. There was a need to cancel the permissions granted to the project to ensure that there was no damage to Odisha state, it said.
“According to the national project status to Polavaram was not correct. In fact, the project’s environment clearance was cancelled by the national environment appellate authority in 2007 but the AP High Court had stayed it as an interim measure. Even the ministry of environment and forest had given a direction to stop the constructions works of the project on Feb 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance,” it added.