Continuing its unrelenting protest over the Rs 10,000-crore controversial Polavaram Indira Sagar project, the Orissa government has filed a petition in the Supreme Court, opposing the Centre's decision to give environmental clearance for the project.
"In our petition in the Supreme Court, we have demanded the cancellation of the environmental clearance given to the project by the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) to the Polavaram project. The state government has argued as to how the ministry could give the clearance when a case related to the project is already pending in the apex court”, Suresh Mohapatra, secretary (water resources), Orissa government told Business Standard.
The Orissa government had first moved the Supreme Court after the MoEF had given its interim approval for the project in 2008.
Now, Orissa has sought a declaration that Andhra Pradesh had no right or entitlement to undertake or proceed with the Polavaram project on the Godavari river. It has also stated that embankments were not permanent solutions to effectively contain submergence during floods.
The Orissa government has also accused the Central Water Commission (CWC) of not furnishing any details before approving the Polavaram project.
Moreover, the extent of submergence due to design flood (which had been revised to 50 lakh cusecs from the original 36 lakh cusecs by the CWC itself) and the backwater effect along the Sabari and Sileru limbs (flowing through Orissa territory into the Godavari in Andhra Pradesh) had been finalised by the CWC without estimating the flood contributions from these limbs separately by following any rational procedure or acceptable norm, said the petition filed by the Orissa government.
As per the estimates of the state government, the project was likely to submerge 2119.38 hectares of land in Naxalite-affected tribal areas of Malkangiri district.
The filing of the petition in the Supreme Court by the state government has come close on the heels of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's statement that Orissa would continue to oppose the Polavaram project owing to its concerns of submergence of tribal villages and forest land.
Patnaik had categorically stated that all steps would be taken to ensure that the interest of Orissa is not disturbed due to the implementation of the Polavaram project.