BHUBANESWAR: Unusual for a ruling party, the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today stalled assembly proceedings over the Polavaram issue and submitted a memorandum to President Pranab Mukherjee through Governor JC Samir here demanding that the dam project should be stopped.
BJD members rushed to the well as soon as the house assembled for the day shouting anti-Centre slogans forcing Speaker Niranjan Pujari to adjourn the house till 3pm. The house could meet only for a minute during the pre-lunch session. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik was, however, not present in the house.
The BJD MLAs including the ministers marched to the Raj Bhavan and submitted a memorandum to the Govenor opposing the release of Rs.345 crore to the Andhra Pradesh government for the project which will lead to submergence of tribal villages on Odisha side. BJD had also protested against Polavaram project in the assembly on December 9.
"We have demanded total stop of the Polavaram project and cancellation of the environment clearance accorded to it," Industries Minister Debi Prasad Mishra told mediapersons.
Meanwhile, all the five members of the Congress in the house committee on Polavaram headed by the Speaker resigned in protest accusing the BJD of politicising the issue. "It was decided at the meeting of the committee on Thursday that a fresh memorandum will be submitted and an all party delegation will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue, but the BJD has gone back on its word," Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said outside the house.
Two BJP members of the house panel also announced that they will boycott the committee.
The Polavaram project, according to Odisha government, would inundate 7756 hectares of land in 15 revenue villages and 10 hamlets of Motu block in Malkangiri district and as many as 6818 people including 5916 tribals would be displaced.
The dispute over Polavaram dam project continued since long. But the issue come to the centre stage again after union minister of state for water resources Sanwar Lal Jat informed members in the Rajya Sabha that the Centre will bear the expenses of the construction of the irrigation project as per the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014.
The expenses incurred after April 1 last year will be borne by the Centre, he had said and added that so far `345 crore has been released for the project.