New Delhi: Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP Sasmit Patra today urged the Centre to stop the construction of Polavaram project, which threatens to displace thousands of people in Malkangiri district of Odisha.
Raising the Polavaram issue in the Rajya Sabha today through a Special Mention Notice, the BJD MP said that due to the Andhra Pradesh’s Polavaram project, around 6818 people including 5916 tribals will be displaced in Motu Tehsil of Malkangiri district of Odisha, the BJD MP told House.
The project was provided Environmental Clearance in 2005 without public hearing in Odisha and in February, 2011, the Ministry of Environment and Forests stopped Polavaram construction through a “Stop Work Order”. But surprisingly and shockingly, this order has been kept in abeyance from 2014 to now 2021 through repeated extensions and Polavaram construction has been allowed, Patra said.
He further said that the justified demand of Odisha has not been fulfilled.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sent repeated letters to Centre in 2015, 2017, 2018 and recently on 1st July, 2019 demanding that the construction of Polavaram be stopped till the verdict of Hon’ble Supreme Court is received in this matter, which is presently pending.
Keeping “Stop Work Order” in abeyance till 2021 will perpetuate permanent damage to Odisha and about 6000 tribals would face large scale submergence of their agricultural lands, forest area and destruction of their habitat and livelihood, Patra said.
He demanded that the Centre stop the construction of Polavaram project and await the verdict of the Hon’ble Supreme Court in this matter.
Further, the Polavaram project should be reformulated as per Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal which would ensure that large scale submergence of Odisha would not take place in Motu tehsil of the state’s Malkangiri district.
Stopping of Polavaram construction would ensure that statutory public hearings in Odisha must be done and the interests of Odisha is protected, he added.