New Delhi: The Supreme Court (SC) Thursday asked the Centre whether it has conducted any backwater study on discharging 50 lakh cusecs of water into the Polavaram Dam project, and listed the matter for hearing Friday.
A three-judge bench of the SC comprising Justice Madan B Lokur, Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice Abdul S Nazeer also directed the Union government to apprise the court of its views on the subject by Friday (October 5).
“Have you conducted the backwater study? If not, how much time will be required to conduct the study,” the bench asked the Centre.
The counsel appearing for the Government of India sought time from the apex court till Friday to report on the backwater study. After that the SC adjourned the matter till Friday.
Earlier during the hearing, the counsel appearing for Odisha, Gopal Subramaniam, submitted to the court that work should be suspended as the project didn’t have valid environmental clearance (EC).
He contended that the EC was given for a discharge capacity of 36 lakh cusecs, but the Andhra Pradesh (AP) government raised it to 50 lakh cusecs from 36 cusecs.
“There is a change in scope for which EC has not been obtained. Without EC no project can be continued,” argued Subramaniam.
The controversy on the project gained momentum with the Odisha government raising apprehensions about the likely damage the project could cause to adjacent areas of Odisha in case a natural calamity affects the dam project of AP. The Odisha government had been batting for a study on the backwater effect of the mega project.