The controversial Polavaram dam issue rocked the Assembly on Friday with the ruling BJD and Congress members trading charges against each other for having allowed the Andhra Pradesh Government to go ahead with the project, sacrificing the interests of Odisha.
While the BJD members demanded that the project should be stopped as it will submerge a large tract of land in tribal-dominated Malkangiri district, the Congress members alleged that it was during the Janata Party Government in the State that an agreement was signed between the two States allowing Andhra Pradesh to go ahead with the project work.
Raising the issue during zero hour, Government deputy chief whip Sanjay Dasburma alleged that the Andhra Pradesh Government is unilaterally going ahead with the project with the tacit support of the Centre by violating the recommendations of the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT).
Dasburma alleged that despite opposition from the State Government and pending cases in the Supreme Court, forest and environment clearance was given to the project when Jairam Ramesh, a Rajya Sabha member from Andhra Pradesh, was the minister. Such anti-Odisha attitude of the Centre should be condemned and a resolution passed in the House.
His party colleagues, former minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Prafulla Samal and several other members supported Dasburma and demanded that forest and environment clearance given to the project by the Centre should be immediately withdrawn.
Government chief whip Prabhat Tripathy criticised Jairam Ramesh for shedding crocodile tears for tribals in Kalahandi, but not hesitating to give final clearance to Polavaram project, which will submerge a large area inhabited by the tribals. Though Congress members maintained that the interests of the State cannot be sacrificed, they demanded that a proper resolution should be brought by the Government for a detailed discussion in the House.
Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan alleged that though the Andhra Pradesh Government has deposited money with the Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) for the last four years for public hearing of people living in villages to be submerged, it has not been held so far.
On the one hand, the BJD members are raising the issue of submergence of the villages, but the State Government is not holding public hearing for the last four years, Harichandan said and criticised the BJD for creating hue and cry during the zero hour.