Andhra Pradesh

Polavaram: A.P. writes to Odisha, Chatthisgarh on public hearing

Aditya Nath Das   | Photo Credit: K.V.S. Giri

While the work at the Polavaram irrigation project in West Godavari district in the State is apace, Andhra Pradesh has once again written to the governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh to conduct public hearing. Government sources say that if the States continue to ignore the decade-long suggestion over public hearing, the Centre can facilitate it on its own.

According to the latest statements by Water Resources Minister P. Anil Kumar Yadav, the construction of Polavaram project, which began in 2004, is scheduled to be completed by June 2021. For the record, the public hearing and embankments to the rivers in Odisha and Chhattisgarh are prerequisites for the completion of the project. The Chatthisgah and Odisha governments are expected to build embankments across river Sabari and Sileru respectively besides conducting public hearings.

Following the directions from Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) in 1980, 2006, 2009 and 2020, both the Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments were repeatedly requested to conduct public hearings and build embankments, but in vain. The latest letters this week to the respective States come in the backdrop of the fast-paced work at the project and the ‘friendly’ gestures of the Centre which are likely to contribute to the timely completion of the project.

Speaking to The Hindu, Aditya Nath Das, Special Chief Secretary, Water Resources, said, “We’ve written in the beginning of this week to the State Pollution Control Boards of Odisha and Chhattisgarh in the prescribed format with all the necessary enclosures. The MoEF also has written to the Principal Secretaries, Water Resources, of both the States in August this year. We are expecting a positive response.”

The copy of the letter stated: “In this regard, it is brought to your notice that any proposal to conduct public hearing by State Pollution Control Board by itself would not in any manner require any further orders either from the Supreme Court of India or from High Court of Andhra Pradesh, since there is no direction by any court not to conduct such public hearing.”

Going by the rule book, it is given to understand that if the respective States delay the public hearing and building of embankment, the Centre is empowered to take special initiative to compete the task on its own.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2020 3:31:55 AM |

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