Naveen Asks PM to Intervene and Stop Polavaram Project Immediately
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today wrote a letter to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene and take immediate steps to stop the construction work of the Polavaram project immediately until all the pending issues are resolved.
In a strongly worded letter to the Prime Minister, Naveen wrote “May I bring to your kind notice that the construction work of Polavaram Project is reportedly progressing at a fast pace. In this regard, my earlier letters dated 16.09.20151 28.11.20171 12.07.2018 and 21.11.2018 may kindly be referred to, wherein I had mentioned that the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change (MoEF & CC) has kept the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance from time to time without taking the views of the State of Odisha into consideration.
He also highlighted that the Environmental clearance to the project was given on 25.10,20051 without conducting the public hearing in the affected areas of Malkangiri district of Odisha. Due to change in the scope of the project, MoEF & CC vide their letter dated 08.02.2011 had directed the Government of Andhra Pradesh not to start construction work of Polavaram Project until further appraisal of the project is made by the MoEF & CC.
At the request of the then Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, the MoEF & CC continued to maintain “Stop Work Order” in abeyance for by renewing the orders in different intervals till 2nd july 2019. And now the center has once again kept the “Stop Work Order” in abeyance for a further period of two years, with similar conditions as stipulated in the previous orders i.e., the reservoir of the Polavaram Project will not be impounded without the permission of MoEF & CC and the changes in the design parameters of the Project will be taken care of based on the result of the public hearing.
He wrote in the letter “It is worth mentioning that once the Project is completed there shall be impounding of the reservoir and it may not be possible to change the design and operating parameters of the Project thereafter. It is also pertinent to mention here that the public hearing in the State of Odisha has not been carried out till date.”
Chiefe Minister also cited the letter written to Dr. Harsh Vardhan, former Minister, MoEF & CC, on 02.06.2018, wherein he had requested to stop the construction of Polavaram Project. However, an Office Memorandum was issued on 10th July, 2018 by MoEF & CC vide which the “Stop Work Order” was kept in abeyance for a further period of one year w.e.f. 03.07.2018. Now, the “Stop Work Order” is being kept in abeyance for a further period of two years disregarding the concerns of the State of Odisha.
“I would like to reiterate that if the construction work on Polavaram Project is not stopped forthwith, it will have immense adverse impact on the people living in the tribal district of Malkangiri in Odisha. The submergence of tribal villages resulting in mass displacement of primitive tribals, flooding of fertile agricultural lands and submergence of large extent of forest area would be irreversible consequences. All this can be avoided if an opportunity is given for a final resolution of the dispute pending before the Hon’ble Supreme Court. The Polavaram Project can be reformulated as per GWDT award without causing large scale submergence in the States of Odisha, Telangana and Chhattisgarh. If the project is allowed to be completed before the resolution of all the pending issues, it will cause permanent injury to the interest of the State of Odisha and its people,” Naveen reiterated.