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Polavaram project works come to a grinding halt again

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IDLING: A fleet of vehicles deployed for execution of Indira Sagar Right Canal works at the project site near Gopalapuram in West Godavari district.
IDLING: A fleet of vehicles deployed for execution of Indira Sagar Right Canal works at the project site near Gopalapuram in West Godavari district.

G. Nagaraja

Sequel to order issued by State Government on April 14

ELURU: No hustle and no bustle. Only, lull and an air of uncertainty that pervade all through. This sums up the current scene of the mutli-crore Indira Sagar Project (Polavaram) in the light of a State government's order, stalling project works.

The order was issued on April 4 last following an `advice' from the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) of the Supreme Court which wanted the government to secure forest clearance for the project from the Union Ministry of Forests and Environment and then go ahead with works. As a result, project works, which include headworks near Polavaram, the174 km-long Right Bank Canal and the 181km-Left Bank Canal, have come to a grinding halt since May 5. The total reserve forest area, facing submergence in view of the project in Khammam, East and West Godavari districts, is estimated at 3,223 hectares which is abundant in flora and fauna.

Out of work

Fleets of machines such as poclains, crushers, batching plants, compressors, transit mixers, etc, remain idle in their respective garages for want of work and thousands of casual workers engaged by the contracting forms in all the 22 reaches of Indira Sagar Project lost work due to the orders.

The government orders came when 30 per cent of excavation works pertaining to the canals and 15 per cent of spillway works were completed.

This is the second time the project suffered a setback in the last one and a half years since its inception. It may be recalled that commencement of project works was delayed for five months from October 2004 to February 2005 due to a legal dispute over finalisation of the tender process.

The project is supposed to be completed in two years. To quote an official employed by an agency executing canal works, it is quite unlikely that the project is completed on time in view of the delay caused by one hurdle or the other which may force contractors to seek more time from the Government to accomplish the task.


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