BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday reiterated his demand for cancellation of the Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) order that allows construction of the controversial Polavaram project.
Dashing off another letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Naveen said, “If the project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of pending issues, it will cause permanent injury to the interest of Odisha and its people.”
Expressing his displeasure over the manner in which the interests of Odisha are sacrificed in the Polavaram project without addressing the legitimate concerns of the State, the Chief Minister said it is a matter of concern that construction of the project is going on a war-footing despite the pendency of the matter in Supreme Court and repeated requests to stop the work.
Objecting to the MoEF&CC order from time to time keeping its earlier ‘stop work’ order in abeyance Naveen said if the project is not impounded, it will not be possible to change the design and operating parameters after its completion. Noting that the ‘stop work’ order is being kept in abeyance on yearly basis from 2015 to 2018, the latest being from July 3, 2018 to July 2, 2019, the Chief Minister said the Ministry has been allowing construction of Polavaram project without any change in legal and factual position.
Referring to media reports quoting the statement of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister that the project is likely to be completed in early part of 2019, Naveen said it is highly objectionable to allow construction without public hearing in the affected areas which is mandatory for getting environmental clearance.
“The Polavaram project can be reformulated as per the Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal award without causing large-scale submergence in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh,” Naveen’s letter said.
If the project is allowed to be completed, it will have serious consequences on the State. Apart from submergence of large tracts of forest and agricultural land, it will also cause mass displacement of tribals, Naveen said.
“I request you to kindly intervene in the matter and give directions to cancel the order of MoEF&CC and stop construction of the Polavaram project until all the pending issues are settled in the Supreme Court,” the Chief Minister said.
This is the fourth letter from Naveen to Modi on the issue. Naveen had last written to the Prime Minister on July 12, 2018.