New Delhi: Centre has ruled out halting the Polavaram project despite admitting that consent for the venture was not taken from affected villagers of Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
Minister of state for water resources and river development Sanjeev Balyan while replying to a question raised by BJD MP from Nabarangpur Balabhadra Majhi Thursday said, “We have asked Orissa and Chhattisgarh to hold gram sabhas for the project.
The project is at an advanced level and cannot be halted at this stage. Orissa and Chhattisgarh governments had already accepted the Reservoir Operation Schedule vide Interstate Agreement between Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Orissa dated 02.04.1980.”
He also pointed out that in an interstate meeting held June 2 this year Orissa and Chhattisgarh governments did express concerns on design, flood, backwater calculations among other issues. “As decided in the meeting, Andhra Pradesh government shared relevant details again with Orissa and Chhattisgarh. There is no further response/ query from either of the states as per information provided by Polavaram Projects Authority,” Balyan added.
Majhi raised the issue of the controversial dam in Lok Sabha which he claimed can endanger the lives and livelihood of many villagers in Orissa.
“The Centre has till now not stated about the status of Polvaram dam project despite our concerns. Surprisingly, the project which is on has not received consent from gram sabhas of the affected villages of Orissa and Chhattisgarh,” claimed Majhi.
The MP also pointed out that a former Andhra Pradesh chief engineer had stated that instead of the big dam estimated to cost `16,200 crore, small barrages costing `900 crore could be constructed for getting the same benefits.
He claimed that 306 villages could be affected in case of a natural disaster striking Polavaram dam but if barrages are constructed then only 72 such hamlets would be hit.
Majhi requested to opt for barrages and stop work on Polavaram dam which according to him could threaten the lives of several villagers in Orissa and other states.
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