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BJD rallies against Polavaram project

Demanding justice:BJD leaders, led by Finance Minister and former Speaker Pradeep Kumar Amat, at a rally in Berhampur on Tuesday against the Polavaram project of Andhra Pradesh.- Photo: Lingaraj Panda  

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) organised simultaneous protest demonstrations and dharnas in seven districts of south Odisha on Tuesday against the Polavaram project coming up in Andhra Pradesh.

It is being seen as a show of strength of the party ahead of the coming panchayat polls in south Odisha as well as an effort to strengthen the party organisation.

State Ministers, MLAs, MPs and senior party leaders participated in the agitations.

The BJD held demonstrations against the Polavaram project in Ganjam, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur and Kandhamal districts. In Ganjam district, the demonstration was held in front of office of Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC), southern division. In all other districts site of demonstration was in front of respective Collectors’ offices. Memorandums against the project addressed to the President were handed over at these offices.

The party alleged that the BJP-led Central government was damaging federal structure of the country by neglecting rights of people of Odisha while promoting Polvaram as a national project. The demands of the BJD include scrapping of earlier clearances given to the Polavaram project by the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment as well as Tribal Affairs. It was also demanded to reduce the height of the dam of the project to 150 feet or less.

The BJD leaders wanted public hearing to be held after decision of the Supreme Court and stalling of construction work of the project till the apex court comes to any decision. The Odisha government has approached the Supreme Court against the project. As per claims of the BJD, Polavaram project would submerge 15 revenue villages and 10 hamlets of Motu tehsil in Malkangiri district. It will lead to submergence of 7,656 hectares of jungle and agricultural land leading to displacement of 6,818 persons of the area.

State Finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat led the agitators in Berhampur, who included BJD MLAs of CM’s home district Ganjam as well as MPs of Berhampur and Aska. Former State minister and BJD spokesperson Rabinarayan Nanda led the demonstration in Koraput.

In the show of strength in Nabarangpur district, State Transport Minister Ramesh Majhi led the show. Odisha Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjay Das Burma and Rajya Sabha MP N Bhaskar Rao were part of the dharna and demonstration in Rayagada.

In the public meeting held in front of the office of the RDC in Berhampur, party leaders were critical of the Congress and the BJP in relation to the Polavaram issue. The BJD blamed both these parties to have neglected the interests of Odisha in the Polavaram issue. They claimed that BJP and Congress will face its repercussions in the coming panchayat polls.

From October 1, the ruling BJD is planning to intensify agitation against Polavaram project in these seven districts


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