Santosh Patnaik

Farmers’ outfits hold meetings to express concern over the issue

Clarification sought on source of water for Jindal

Fresh public hearing on Thatipudi issue demanded

VISAKHAPATNAM: With the farmers and social activists gearing up for an agitation, the recent information in the website of Ministry of Environment and Forest on meeting water requirement for Jindal’s 1.4-million-tonne alumina refinery has raised a lot of heat.

The clarification from Jindal and Minister for Housing Botcha Satyanarayana notwithstanding, the farmers’ outfits held several meetings at S.Kota to express concern over the development.

The Thatipudi reservoir is built to supply water to an ayacut of 15,361 acres in S.Kota, Jami and Gantyada mandals of Vizianagaram. In a note circulated at a meeting held at the Chief Minister’s office, it was stated by the Irrigation Department that the GVMC was drawing nine MGD for domestic supply and no additional water could be supplied to Jindal.

The MoEF in a letter stated that “total water requirement from canal/Thatipudi reservoir will be eight MGD and permission is accorded by the Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation vide letter dated 28th May, 2007.”

Godavari project

At the public hearing held on June 4, 2007 at Kiltampalem amid protest, the Jindal management made a categorical announcement that they would meet their requirement from the Godavari water project.

The GVMC, in its letter in response to an information sought under Right to Information Act had stated vide letter dated April 9, 2008 that eight and 10 MGD of Godavari waters would be respectively supplied to JSW Aluminium Limited and Anrak Aluminium Limited (which is setting another refinery near Makavarapalem) through Yeleru left main canal. CPI (M) Vizianagaram district secretary Krishna Murthy said due to confusion, the MoEF should clarify from where water would be supplied to Jindal refinery being set up near S.Kota.

In the May 28, 2007 letter, the GVMC had stated that raw water would be allotted to Jindal from Godavari project and Jindal had to lay the pipeline from the off-take point to the refinery. Sources said as of now neither Jindal nor Anrak had entered into an agreement with Visakhapatnam Industrial Water Supply Company, which manages Godavari project.

“In view of confusion, either there should be a fresh public hearing on Thatipudi issue or let MoEF issue a clarification. Our stand is that Jindal and Anrak should meet their requirement by setting up seawater desalination plants,” Samata executive director Rebbapragda Ravi said.