Tribals launch Jala Deeksha against Polavaram Dam అక్టోబర్ 20, 2012
Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhrapreneurship, biodiversity, corruption, Culture, Godavari, Identity, indigenous, Polavaram, ST.
Tags: Bachawat, dam break, inter river linkage project, Jala Yagnam
Tribals launch Jala Deeksha against Polavaram Dam
– M Bharath Bhushan
Tribals and civil society organizations from Malkangiri (Odisha), Sukma (Chhattisgarh), and Khammam (Andhra Pradesh) launched Jala Deeksha on Thursday 18 October demanding immediate withdrawal of Polavaram project that threatens to adversely affect around four lakh people in Eastern Ghats besides causing irreversible loss to ecology in the region.
The Polavaram project is in violation of several laws. It is most controversial and illegal as it lacks approvals from affected people and the authorities of two neighboring states and Government of India. There is no approval of Grama Sabhas in the submergence region of Orissa and Chattisgarh states where no public hearing has been held (even if dykes and protection bunds are constructed to avoid submergence). It also lacks approvals from Gram Sabhas of hundreds of villages to be submerged in Khammam, East Godavari and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
The project lacks Environmental clearance from MoEF for submergence in Orissa and Chattisgarh states (or for dykes/ protection bunds, etc); Clearance from CEA for power component; Clearance for revised costs by the expenditure (Finance) Committee; Approval of Planning Commission Government of India for revised costs; among other clearances from several central authorities.
This is a project which benefits none, but a curse for all.
The project claims to irrigate land that is already irrigated under existing and ongoing projects such as Tatipudi – Pushakara LIS, Yeleru, Chagalanadu LIS, and Torrigedda Pumping Scheme irrigating altogether 520,000 acres out of Polavaram project’s claim of irrigating 720,000 acres in the same region. The duplicate project is being pushed by Government of Andhra Pradesh only to benefit contractors who have already made thousands of crores for duplicate canals adjoining the existing canals downstream.
The dam is likely to cause massive destruction downstream in the event of dam failure/ dam break according to experts – Prof Sivaji Rao and T Hanumantha Rao (Retd Engineer in Chief, Govt of Andhra Pradesh). National Institute of Hydrology estimated that about four million people downstream would be killed in case of dam failure.
There are cases pending in High Court and Supreme Court opposing the project by affected adivasis, environment groups, experts, and neighbouring state governments- Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
Now the AP government has finalized the tenders for head works, after cancelling tendering process three times earlier owing to lots of criticism and court orders against irregularities. A few ministers of the Congress party are also openly criticizing the tendering.
Anti- people Polavaram project is not only controversial for corruption, ecological destruction and genocide of the adivasis, but a unique example of a dam being designed and built only to loot the nation. Around five hundred adivasis from three states took part in Jala Deeksha in river Godavari at Kunavaram for cancellation of the Polavaram Dam.