Stop Polavaram irrigation project, Patnaik urges centre

Bhubaneswar, March 29 (IANS) Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday demanded a halt to multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, an official of his office here said.

Patnaik, who is on a five-day visit to New Delhi from Wednesday, met union Minister of Water Resources Harish Rawat Friday and referred to news reports on finalisation of tenders for the civil works of the project.

The chief minister said that a number of critical issues related to the project – including reservoir operation schedule, placement of embankments, submersion of forest land, displacement of tribal population and incorrect back water computation – were pending.

He suggested that the central government should not allow execution of the project till these conflicting issues were resolved through mutual consultations, the official told IANS.

Odisha has been opposing the project claiming that a large number of villages in its Malkangiri district would be impacted.

The central environment ministry gave Andhra Pradesh the final clearance for diversion of 3,731.07 hectares of forest land three years ago for the project, despite protests from the state.

The central authority said they cleared it on the condition that no submergence of forest land would take place in both the states. Odisha has petitioned the Supreme Court against it.

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