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Polavaram Dam: Corrupt interests at the expense of noble alternatives అక్టోబర్ 25, 2012

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in corruption, Culture, ecology, Godavari, Identity, indigenous, Koya, Polavaram.
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3 వ్యాఖ్యలు

Observational Report on the Polavaram Dam Project and Surrounding Areas
By: Drew Bahr, HELP International Intern

During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to personally witness the proposed construction site of the Polavaram Dam as well as interview three engineers and environment experts with alternative proposals and view the conditions of the people in the proposed area of displacement that would be created by the Dam. During this three-day journey from Hyderabad to northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, I was surprised to find that many things are not as they were officially described by the government.

Our trip began with an effort to document the present existence of canals to provide irrigation for the surrounding countryside from the Godavari River to refute the claim that the Dam is necessary to provide irrigation for rice and other crops. Although government engineers seem to ignore their presence, we visited perfectly working canals and pumping stations from the river alongside new canals which were supposedly built to take water from the Godavari River to the Krishna River Basin. These larger canals, however, seem to have displaced an inordinate amount of farmers and did not provide means for their local use through pumps or other forms of access.

Secondly, we visited the actual site of the Polavaram Dam and were able to observe proposed construction plans and costs. I was shocked and ashamed to find that the costs of the Dam project had greatly exceeded the rate of inflation of the Rupee several times over and that the proposed additions to the Dam to justify such expense were not commensurate. Moreover, the safety and security of an earthen dam of such vast proportion was clearly called into question upon seeing both the proposed length of the dam as well as the size of the potential reservoir. I would recommend that all inhabitants downstream on the Godavari River take note of the catastrophe and imminent danger a rupture or collapse of the earthen dam would pose to their lives and livelihoods. (మరింత…)

Polavaram Conundrum – Richard Mohapatra జూలై 19, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, BJP, Congress, corruption, Godavari, Identity, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, TDP, TRS, Uttara Andhra.
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“People living in the Polavaram dam’s submergence zone have another strong legal protection besides FRA, which can be used to demand scrapping of Polavaram dam. All the villages are governed by the powerful Panchayat (Extension to the Scheduled Areas) Act (PESA) of 1996. Under this Act, no project can be initiated in a Schedule Five area without the consent of the gram sabhas there. What’s more, no land can be acquired without the consent of the gram sabhas”.

Deccan Herald July 19, 2011

Polavaram Conundrum
Richard Mohapatra

Fear of submergence haunts Kurturu, a village nestled in the Papi hills of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh

In 2005, a band of officials, an unusual sight in this remote village in West Godavari district, visited the place and marked a rock. Then they broke the news about the Polavaram multi-purpose project on the river Godavari that would submerge Kurturu along with 275 other villages.

The words “FRL 150 feet” are inscribed on the rock face, which mean submergence at full reservoir level of 150 feet (45.72 metres); it indicates the level to which the river will rise once the Polavaram dam is constructed. The rock is at a much higher level than the 1986 flood level. Kurturu residents have vivid memories of the flood—the worst by far, when the Godavari rose by over 45 metres and submerged the village. The residents, belonging to the Konda Reddy tribe, point at trees on the hill to indicate the flood level.

The flood lasted just two days. The dam will submerge the village forever. Even in summer, when the river’s flow is relatively low, the village will be submerged 18 metres under water, informs Rajakrishna Reddy, a resident of Kurturu. The Polavaram dam, an earth and rock-filled structure, will displace the largest number of people in India’s history of such projects.

“For every five acres (2.02 hectares) that will be irrigated by the project, one tribal family will be displaced,” says E A S Sarma, former power secretary, who has been tracking the project. The dam’s backwaters will submerge 3,731 hectares (ha) of forestland; its net present value, assessed at Rs 13 lakh per 0.4 ha, would add up to Rs 1,120 crore. Kurturu’s residents have been waging a desperate battle to stay afloat. In 2008, they came to know about the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, popularly called Forest Rights Act (FRA). (మరింత…)

Tasks for Kishore Chandra Deo, Tribal Minister జూలై 16, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Bhadrachalam, conflict resolution, Culture, displacement, Godavari, heritage, Hyderabad, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, Vishakapatnam.
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Among the projects taken up in post-Independent India, Polavaram is perhaps the largest single project that has disrupted the lives of the tribals most. The environment clearance given for Polavaram is not valid as it stands today, as there have been fundamental changes in the design of the project. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs should take the initiative in correcting these statutory violations, if necessary, by approaching the Supreme Court, even at this belated stage. The proposal of Andhra Pradesh to seek ‘national’ status for the current project proposal is merely a ploy to cover up its illegalities. In its current design, the project benefits a few chosen politician-cum-contractors, certainly not the public.

OPINION, Tehelka 16 July 2011

Tasks for the new tribal minister
EAS Sarma

Kishore Chandra Deo has had a long career in Parliament. Here’s a doable and basic manifesto for him as the new minister of tribal affairs

THE RECENT union cabinet reshuffle has its plus points as well as minus ones. One important introduction to the cabinet is that of Kishore Chandra Deo, a senior member of parliament representing the tribal legislators and a person who has been in close touch with the ground reality of the tribal constituency in the Visakhapatnam area he represents. Deo has been at the forefront of cautioning his party on the hasty manner in which industrial projects are being grounded in tribal areas without adequate consultation with the tribals. Now that he has occupied the position of a minister, there are high expectations that he will translate his statements into tangible policy initiatives. What are the challenges that lie before him?

Of course, in general terms, as the Minister incharge of both tribal affairs and panchayati raj, he should take initiatives that will further the interests of the tribals in terms of their constitutional entitlements and, simultaneously, empower the grassroots- level constitutional bodies like gram sabhas, panchayats and tribal advisory councils, especially in terms of enforcement of the PESA (Panchayats Extension to Scheduled Areas). (మరింత…)

EIA report by project authorities is a joke, Public Hearing on Polavaram dam soon మార్చి 19, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in agitation, Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, Congress, corruption, Economy, Godavari, heritage, Koya, Polavaram, politics.
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Present system of environmental assessment flawed: Ramesh
The Pioneer, March 19, 2011 10:40:27 PM

PTI | Hyderabad

Admitting that the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed, Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh today said the Ministry would now seek third-party opinion to evaluate the projects.

He also informed that the Ministry would soon map the wetland areas in the country to formulate a better definition of the same.

The Minister said the present system of preparing environmental assessment report is flawed and the Ministry itself would take third party opinion on environment in projects like coal, power and construction of ports.

“We have done the satellite mapping of all wet lands in the country. We have wetland atlas of every state which will be released by month-end. So far we did not follow scientific approach of wetland management as in revenue record, wet land is recorded as waste land. All these are legacies of the past. We will clean up the system,” the Minister told reporters on the sidelines of Green Landscape Summit-2011 organised by CII.

He also ridiculed the present system of preparing the environmental assessment report by the company itself which is proposing to set up a project.

“Environmental impact assessment report is bit of joke. I admit it publicly. In our system the person who is putting up the project will be preparing the assessment report. I have been very concerned about this. Supreme Court has also expressed its concern,” Ramesh said. (మరింత…)

Now Environment Minister Ramesh requests Polavaram Dam height reduced మార్చి 6, 2011

Posted by M Bharath Bhushan in Andhra, Andhrapreneurship, Bhadrachalam, Congress, corruption, Godavari, heritage, Kakatiya, Khammam, Koya, livelihoods, Polavaram, politics, ST, TDP, Telangana, TRS, Vishakapatnam.
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Ramesh wants Polavaram Dam height reduced
Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times, New Delhi, March 05, 2011

Four months after issuing a notice to Andhra Pradesh government on south India’s biggest dam project, Polavaram, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh wants to reduce the dam’s height to end confrontation between Andhra and its two neighbouring states – Orissa and Chhattisgarh. The state Government has decided to retain the 150-ft height for the dam of the Polavaram project, which many believe can lead to submergence of villages in naxal struck Malkangiri in Orissa and Dantewada in Chhattisgarh and provide ammunition to naxals.

The decision taken on recommendation of a nine-member committee by Preetam Singh, former Chairman of the Central Water Commission (CWC), has irked the two state governments, who alleged they were not consulted before deciding to increase the height by about 60 meters.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in a letter to Ramesh had complained that increasing the height would lead to huge submergence of land area in Dantewada as compared to environment clearance condition that only four villages will be affected. (మరింత…)