J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Andhra Pradesh Government to furnish a scheme as to how it proposed to rehabilitate and provide relief to those to be affected by executing the Rs. 16,000-crore Polavaram project.

In April, the apex court had permitted the authorities concerned to process the applications seeking various approvals for the execution of the project but said that they should not pass any final order on the applications.

When the matter came up on Friday before a three-judge Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice Arijit Pasayat and Justice S.H. Kapadia, senior counsel K.K. Venugopal, appearing for the State pleaded for granting permission for execution of the project.

Power supply

To a question from the Bench, Mr. Venugopal said that the Government would complete rehabilitation one year prior to the completion of the project.

The Government had decided to take up Indira Sagar (Polavaram) project at an estimated cost of Rs. 16,716 crore, including Rs. 4,361 crore towards cost of relief and rehabilitation.

He said that this project was of great importance for the economy of the State and would also help in generating 960 MW of power, which would augment power supply in the State.

Counsel for the States of Orissa and Chattisgarh, opposed grant of permission for the project contending that no proper survey had been done for identification of the number of tribals to be rehabilitated and how it was proposed to be done.

In view of this, the Bench asked the A.P. Government to come out with a Relief and Rehabilitation scheme and posted the matter for hearing next week.

State in its petition said “there will be a net increase in annual agriculture production of Rs. 2,296 crores, which will add to the gross national product of the country.

It helps in providing assured water supply to the industries and drinking water needs to Visakhapatnam and hundreds of villages.”