The Centre on Thursday told the Supreme Court that it was ready to appoint an independent agency to conduct public hearing in states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Indira Sagar Polavaram Project on river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.
The government told this to a bench comprising justices Madan B Lokur, S Abdul Nazeer and Deepak Gupta after the court asked whether the Centre would conduct public hearing over the Polavaram project in these two states.
During the hearing, the Centre told the court that public hearing was already conducted in Andhra Pradesh way back in 2005.
The counsel representing Andhra Pradesh said that Odisha government does not want to hold a public hearing on the issue and in such a situation, the Government of India was empowered to appoint an independent agency to carry out this work.
"We are living in a democracy and you cannot say that public has some problem but I will not do anything and not hear the public," the bench told the Centre's counsel.
The counsel told the court that they had earlier told Odisha to conduct public hearing.
The counsel appearing for Odisha told the bench that they were not even aware as to which areas in their state would be submerged due to the project.
Later, the Centre's counsel took instructions on the issue and told the apex court that they were ready to conduct public hearing in states of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
The bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit indicating the terms of reference and parameters on which public hearing would be conducted in Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
It has posted the matter for hearing on December 3.
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.
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