The Union Environment Ministry on Wednesday extended the construction period for the Polavaram Multipurpose Project in Andhra Pradesh by two years.
Addressing the media at the Parliament complex, Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar said the two-year construction order was signed on Wednesday.
In 2011, the then Union government had asked the Andhra Pradesh government to stop Polavaram construction.
In 2014, the NDA government declared Polavaram a national project and the ministry kept the 'stop work order' in abeyance to allow construction work.
The 'Stop Work Order' was kept in abeyance six times for a year each time, the ministry said in a statement.
"Considering the immense importance of the project, the ministry is keeping the 'stop work order' in abeyance to allow the construction for two years without permission to impound water," a ministry source said.
Javadekar said the project is important for Andhra Pradesh, as it will irrigate nearly 3 lakh hectare of land, generate hydro power with installed capacity of 960 MW and provide drinking water to 540 villages covering a population of 25 lakh in Visakhapatnam, East Godavari and West Godavari and Krishna districts.
"The Modi government has given it national project status. This time we thought the project needs faster work. Therefore, we have given two year extension. Today, I signed the order," Javadekar said.
The Polavaram project aims to build an earth-cum-rock filled dam across river Godavari. The maximum height of the dam is 48 m.
The project's main dam was expected to be completed by December 2018, official sources said.
Before the this year's elections, former AP chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu had claimed parts of the project ayacut would get water using gravity method soon and the project would be completed to a large extent by June 2019.
However during Naidu's May 6 project visit, he revised the project deadline to June 2020.
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