Centre’s Double Standards on Polavaram Project Raise Questions

Bhubaneswar: The Central Government’s stand on the controversial Polavaram project has once again taken the center stage in Odisha politics as legislators cutting across party lines condemned in the assembly the Union Environment Ministry’s decision to extend the construction period for the Polavaram dam project in Andhra Pradesh by two years.

The legislators on Friday urged the Assembly Speaker Surya Narayan Patro to constitute a House Committee to apprise Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue.

The MLAs came down heavily on the Centre for backing the Polavaram project as several villages in Malkangiri district will get submerged once the construction of the project by the neighboring State completes.
The legislators also requested the Speaker to convene an all-party meeting to discuss the Union government’s go ahead to extend the construction work of the multipurpose Polavaram project on the river Godavari by two more years.

Raising the issue during the Zero Hour, BJD MLA Debi Prasad Mishra said that the Centre has allowed Andhra Pradesh two more years to complete the project despite strong opposition from the Odisha government.

Congress legislator Taraprasad Bahinipati appealed the Speaker to allow four-hour discussion on the issue to put pressure on the Central Government.

CPI (M) legislator Laxman Munda, who had filed a petition against Polavaram project, strongly condemned the Centre’s decision.
In 2011, the Union government had directed Andhra Pradesh government to stop construction of Polavaram work but in 2014 the NDA government gave it a national project status and the ministry held the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance to allow the construction work. The “Stop Work Order” has been kept in abeyance six times a year.

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