The controversial Polavaram dam project has returned to the centrestage in the State with the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) all set to organise “Save Malkangiri Rally” at Motu on August 27 as a part of its Centre-bashing programme.
Three ministers, Lalbihari Himirika, Rabinarayan Nanda and Ramesh Chandra Majhi besides Koraput MP Jayaram Pangi, party MLAs and senior leaders are expected to address the rally to launch BJD’s protest against the construction of the project by Andhra Pradesh.
The project will submerge a large area and displace tribals of 29 villages in Malkangiri district.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had shot off a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last month demanding that the Andhra Pradesh Government should be prevailed upon to stop construction of the project till cases in this regard pending in the Supreme Court are disposed of.
The project will result in large-scale submergence in Malkangiri district, a tribaldominated district affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Naveen said in the letter.
The proposal of the Andhra Pradesh Government to have embankments is not a sound proposition and cannot be treated as a measure to contain the submergence within the river banks during floods, he said.
The issue is expected to generate a lot of heat in the ensuing monsoon session of the Assembly beginning August 28.
As the Opposition political parties are prepared to embarrass the Government over several issues, including several scams and deteriorating law and order situation, the ruling BJD is also preparing to counter these with Central neglect.
The Chief Minister had in an earlier letter on July 18, 2009, requested the Prime Minister not to allow construction of the project in view of the pending cases and interlocutory applications filed by the Odisha Government in the Supreme Court.
The Chief Minister had also written to the Union Minister for Water Resources and the Union Minister for Environment and Forests to withdraw technical clearance and final forest clearance from the project.
First envisaged by the British in 1941, the Polavaram project aims to construct a dam on the Godavari river and divert large quantities of water through a 174-km link canal to the Krishna river.
The Andhra Pradesh Government has finalised the tenders for the project, over the Godavari river, even as the petitions filed by Chhattisgarh and Odisha governments, opposing the project, are still pending in the Supreme Court.
The Opposition parties in the State, Congress, BJP and CPM, have demanded that an all-party meeting should be convened by the Chief Minister to discuss the issue.