Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The National Board of Wildlife has cleared the wildlife aspect of Polavaram (Indira Sagar) project after considering various aspects of likely submergence of the Papikondalu Wildlife Sanctuary under the project.

This was decided at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the Board in New Delhi, which was attended by Union Minister of State for Forests and Environment A. Raja. The Board is headed by the Prime Minister.

Announcing this here on Thursday, Major Irrigation Minister P. Lakshmaiah said the clearance by the Board became necessary since 187 hectares of the sanctuary would face submergence under the project.

The Wildlife Board's clearance would have to get approval by the Empowered Committee of the Supreme Court. The project would have to get forest clearance too. The Minister affirmed that the State Government would achieve all the clearances required for Polavaram.

Krishna Tribunal award

The new Krishna Water Tribunal, headed by Justice Brijesh Kumar, is likely to issue its crucial interim order on Friday on the complaints and replies filed by the three riparian states of the river--Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

After hearing arguments from these States, the tribunal on March 3 posted the matter for interim orders to June 9. Each State took a different stand before the tribunal reflecting its own interests. However, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra made common cause over Alamatti Dam in Karnataka demanding that its storage should be restricted to 509-metre level. In its complaint, Andhra Pradesh urged the tribunal to restrain Karnataka from constructing four projects in Krishna basin--Upper Thunga, Uper Bhadra, Singathaluru and the hydel project of the Rajolibanda Diversion Scheme.

Karnataka's plea

On the other hand, Karnataka sought stoppage of five projects taken up by Andhra Pradesh saying they are based on surplus waters of the Krishna over which it has no right. These are Handri-Niva, Galeru-Nagari, Veligonda, Kalwakurthy and Nettempadu. .