The Centre Monday retracted last week's statement to the Supreme Court that it was ready to appoint an independent agency for public hearings in Chhattisgarh and Odisha on the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project on the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh.
In an affidavit filed before a bench of Justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta, the government has said that statement given on November 29 before the court was "inadvertently communicated" to the counsel appearing on its behalf.
"The inadvertent communication, made without obtaining instructions from senior officers, to the counsel may kindly be considered and condoned," the Centre said in its affidavit.
On November 29, the bench had noted in its order that the "counsel appearing for the Union of India, on instructions received in court today, says that the Union of India is prepared to appoint an independence agency to conduct a public hearing in the above two states (Chhattisgarh and Odisha)".
During the hearing in the matter on Monday, the Centre's counsel told the bench that holding public hearing on the issue was basically the responsibility of states.
"If it is the view of the Union of India, what is to be done," Justice Lokur observed while referring to the affidavit.
When the Centre said Chhattisgarh and Odisha should be asked the conduct public hearings, the bench said, "They (states) are saying they cannot do it unless you disclose all the facts."
The Centre's counsel said Odisha and Chhattisgarh were told repeatedly to hold public hearings but they are not willing to do so.
The advocates appearing for Chhattisgarh and Odisha said they do not even know what were the areas in their respective states which would be submerged due to the Polavaram project.
It is a multi-purpose irrigation project which has been accorded the status of a national project.
The bench asked both Chhattisgarh and Odisha to categorically give a list of information which they want from the Centre.
The bench asked the Centre to inform it whether they would supply the information, as asked by both the states, and posted the matter for hearing in first week of January.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change had given a direction to stop the construction work of the project on February 8, 2011, but had later kept its own order in abeyance.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)