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Supreme Court grants “last chance” to centre on Polavaram row నవంబర్ 18, 2010

Posted by Telangana Utsav in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, Congress, corruption, CPI, CPI-M, Godavari, heritage, Koya, livelihoods, movement, politics, Settler, Telangana.
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PTI 18/11/2010

SC grants “last opportunity” to Centre on Polavaram row

New Delhi, Nov 18 (PTI) The Supreme Court today granted “last opportunity” to the Centre to file within three weeks its response on Orissa’s plea for quashing clearance granted by Environment Ministry to the controversial Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh, which it fears would inundate several parts of the state.

A bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave while passing the order also posted after 8 weeks hearing of the main suit filed by Orissa in 2007 challenging the construction of the project also known as Indira Sagar, which the Centre has agreed to treat as a national project.

The apex court gave the “last opportunity” as it was irked by the Centre”s failure to file the response despite its earlier directive on October 4.

It also asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to file its response within three weeks and allowed Maharashtra to file its impleadment application on the issue as the project had a bearing on the State’s interest too.

According to Andhra Pradesh government, the project will provide drinking water to three million people, produce 960 MW of power and give 23,500 million cubic feet of water to the industries.

In its application, Orissa has urged the apex court to quash the clearance on the ground that it would affect the lives of thousands of people in the state due to the massive embankment being constructed by Andhra Pradesh.

Senior counsel Raju Ramachandran questioned the Centre’s logic in granting clearance when the construction of the project was being examined by the apex court.

Orissa has already filed a suit before the apex court challenging the construction of the multi-crore Polavaram project.

The state has argued that the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MOEF) had granted clearance to the project despite the fact that Andhra Pradesh failed to conduct the mandatory public hearing before constructing the 45-feet high embankment spread over 35 kms.

It maintained that the clearance was granted despite the fact that the dispute over the construction of the project was pending adjudication in the apex court.

The UPA government had earlier assured Andhra Pradesh government that it would accord a national status to the project, which means that a bulk of the project cost would be borne by the Centre.

Inordinate delay in execution of Polavaram Project has led to steep escalation of project cost from about Rs. 12,000 crore to over Rs. 17,600 crore now.

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had during his last visit to Delhi urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to withdraw forest and environmental clearance to Polavaram project as it would submerge vast areas in Orissa’s Malkangiri district.

The Prime Minister, on his part, had assured him that the tribal villages would not be allowed to be submerged.

Initially planned by the British in 1941, the Polavaram project envisages construction of a dam on Godavari river and diversion of a large volume of water through a 174-km link canal to Krishna river.

Orissa government had first moved the Supreme Court after the MoEF had given its interim approval for the project in 2008.

Source: http://news.in.msn.com/national/article.aspx?cp-documentid=4593142

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