Rosaiah questions rationale of holding hearings in Orissa, Chhattisgarh on ‘additional component'
Chief Minister K. Rosaiah said that the objections raised by Orissa against Polavaram project were not valid and questioned the feasibility of conducting public hearings in Orissa and Chhattisgarh on the ‘additional component' as stipulated by the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF). The “additional component” includes construction of embankments, drainage sluices and pumping system to prevent submersion of areas in these two States.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, the Chief Minister asked: “Can we hold public hearings on a project in the same States that have raised objections to it?”
He said the MoEF had given environmental clearance to Polavaram only after being convinced about the steps taken to prevent the submersion in Orissa and Chhattisgarh. “Raising further questions about the project amounts to going back to square one. It is unreasonable.” The Chief Minister said he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal about the Polavaram issue and was confident that they would do justice to Andhra Pradesh. He could not, however, talk to Union Minister of State for Environment & Forests Jairam Ramesh though he tried to contact him several times.
He would write to Mr. Ramesh impressing upon him the need to issue the final environmental clearance and declaring Polavaram as a national project.
Andhra Pradesh had already replied to queries raised by Orissa and Chhattisgarh. He said there was a need to accord national status to Pranahita-Chevella too once the statutory clearances were received.