Odisha opposes Polavaram dam at National Water Resources Council meet డిసెంబర్ 30, 2012Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in biodiversity, Congress, corruption, ecology, Koya, Polavaram.
Tags: dam, displacement
Odisha opposes AP irrigation plan at meet
Saturday, 29 December 2012 PNS | Bhubaneswar
The State Government strongly opposed the ongoing controversial multipurpose Polavaram Irrigation Project of Andhra Pradesh at the 6th meeting of the National Water Resources Council held at New Delhi on Friday and accused the Centre of evading its responsibility in resolving the inter-State river dispute and forcing the State to seek recourse in legal remedies.
The Government urged the Centre at the meeting held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to constitute a task force to examine the problems of flood, drainage congestion and coastal erosion of the State, besides demanding formulation of a comprehensive scheme to look at development of water resources in eastern region, including Odisha in a holistic manner.
Addressing the meeting, Urban Development Minister Raghu Nath Mohanty on behalf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik expressed concern relating to the construction work of the Polavaram project and the construction of flow canal over river Vansdhara and the off shore reservoir scheme over river Mahendratanaya by the Andhra Pradesh Government despite the continuous protest by Odisha through various forum, including in the court of law.
Regretting the step-motherly attitude of the Union Government on the disputed issue, Mohanty said, “It is indeed a matter of concern that inter-State water disputes are not being resolved within the framework of law and adequate regard is not being paid towards the reparian rights of the different stakeholders.”
Pointing out that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik repeatedly had pointed out to the Prime Minister, the Union Water Resources Minister and the Union Forests and Environment Minister that the forest and environment clearance given to the Polavaram Project suffered from serious flaws, Mohanty demanded withdrawing the clearances immediately.
Drawing the attention of the NWRC, Mohanty said that submergence of tribal lands of the sensitive district like Malkangiri had not been adequately addressed while giving the forest and environment clearances to the project. In spite of Odisha’s protest based on grave concern for the affected people, the Government of Andhra Pradesh has been going ahead with the project, he lamented.
Besides, he said that although the matter is sub judice, tenders were being floated and finalized in respect of the disputed Polavaram project. Even, he said that the State’s protest in respect of other interstate rivers like Vansdhara and Mahendratanaya had also fallen in deaf ears and the Andhra Government seemed to have gone ahead with all the projects like construction of flood flow canal at Katragada and the offshore reservoir scheme over the two rivers. He also regretted that though the disputes between the two States should be settled in a fair and equitable manner within the framework of different awards and laws, the Centre had not played its role in resolving these issues and forced Odisha to take recourse in legal remedies. Stating that the States in the eastern region, including Odisha, lack adequate resources to exploit the well endowed water resources, Mohanty urged the council to come out with a scheme which would look at the development of water resources in a holistic manner. The new scheme should assist the States in developing new storage reservoirs and also help in harnessing the ground water.
On the Central Government’s new Groundwater Development Scheme for Eastern and North Eastern India during the 12th Plan to boost agricultural productivity, Mohanty urged the Center to give substantial Central assistance under the scheme to help in drought proofing and accelerating irrigation expansion.
He said since Odisha’s large coastline was frequently affected by flood, flood control and drainage developments were as important as irrigation. Considering the gravity of the situation, the Centre should constitute a task force to find out a long term remedy, he suggested.