BHUBANESWAR: With the Centre giving green signal for controversial Polavaram project, the State Assembly constituted a House Committee headed by Speaker Niranjan Pujari to submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.
Besides the Speaker, the 25-member Committee will have the Government chief whip, Opposition chief whip and 22 other members. The first meeting of the Committee will be held soon to finalise the programme to visit the location to make an on the spot assessment. The House Committee comprises members from the Congress and the BJP too.
Though the issue rocked the monsoon session of the Assembly several times, the State Government was found to be lacking in information about the area to be submerged on Odisha side on completion of the dam.
The BJD is opposed to the environmental clearance given to the project without public hearing. The party has also questioned the Centre’s decision to give environmental clearance to the project without survey.
While the BJD MPs opposed the passage of the Andhra Reorganisation Bill in Parliament, the party MLAs disrupted the proceedings of the House over the issue for two days. BJD activists also picketed in front of Central Government offices, blocked railway tracks and roads in Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarangpur districts in protest.
The BJD submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee demanding a relook into the project design in order to avoid submergence on the Odisha side. Several BJD MLAs including Ranendra Pratap Swain have also demanded that the State Government should come out with a White Paper with details about the area of submergence, the number of tribal villages to be affected and demand compensation from the Centre for the loss.
Four cases filed by the State Government against the project are pending in the Supreme Court.