Other States

Odisha CPI (M) leads protest against Polavaram project

Over 3,000 tribals and Dalits, including women, under the banner of CPI (M), held a 24-hour protest in front of the Malkangiri District Collector’s office on Tuesday against Polavaram multi-purpose project of Andhra Pradesh.

This demonstration coincided with the start of recent session of the Odisha Assembly on Tuesday. In the next phase, the CPI (M) plans to hold demonstrations against the Polavaram project all over Odisha. Led by CPI (M) State secretary Ali Kishore Patnaik and party Malkangiri district secretary Braja Majhi, the demonstrators alleged that all major political parties, including the BJD in power as well as opposition parties Congress and BJP because of political reasons, were ignoring the plight of inhabitants of Malkangiri district.

The CPI (M) demonstrators from all the seven blocks of Malkangiri district took out a rally that culminated in a public meeting and dharna. This dharna will continue throughout Tuesday night till Wednesday morning. Additional District Magistrate (ADM) held discussions with the demonstrators and promised that the Collector would soon hold a detail discussion over the issue.

Mr Patnaik said although several experts and environmental activists have expressed doubts about possibility of submergence in Malkangiri district, the State government is yet to come up with a ground-level survey report on the damage likely to be caused by the Polavaram project. As the Congress had initiated the project, party leaders in Odisha are also reluctant to be too critical about it, he added. He was also critical of the BJP, which, according him, was showing two faces in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha regarding the project.

According to Mr Patnaik, during the 2014 elections, the BJP had supported Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh to woo the TDP and its leader Chandrababu Naidu while the party leaders in Odisha were opposing the project. After Narendra Modi-led Central government declared this as a national project, the BJP leaders of Odisha seem to have become silent on the issue, said Mr Majhi.

As per the findings of the CPI (M) team from Odisha that visited areas to be affected by Polavaram project, the barrage would check free flow of water and lead to great floods in Saberi and Sileru rivers that flow through Malkangiri district. The party has also alleged that although areas to be affected by this project in Odisha were scheduled areas, yet till now opinion of people has not been taken into consideration.

The CPI (M) urged all major political parties to make serious discussion in the State Assembly.

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Printable version | Dec 1, 2020 5:45:57 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/odisha-cpi-m-leads-protest-against-polavaram-project/article7555448.ece

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