TS urges SC to tell Polavaram Authority to conduct fresh EIA

In a significant development, the Telangana government has filed a counter affidavit in a case related to Polavaram project, requesting the Supreme Court to direct the project proponent, Government of Andhra Pradesh/Polavaram Project Authority, to carry out fresh environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies for extending the environmental clearance for the project.

The counter affidavit was filed by the Chief Engineer of Inter-State Water Resources wing of the Irrigation department on behalf of the State government last week. The counter affidavit has been filed in response to the notice issued by the Supreme Court in a case filed by an NGO in February this year on the adverse impact of the project on tribal communities.

The Telangana government has submitted to the Supreme Court that fresh impact assessment study as per the Environmental Impact Assessment Notification of 2006 since the Central Water Commission (CWC) has revised probable maximum flood (PMF) at the Polavaram reservoir site as 50 lakh cusecs as against 36 lakh cusecs estimated at the time of preparation of the detailed project report for seeking the clearances.

As one of the nine respondents in the case admitted by the SC based on the petition filed by the NGO, the Telangana government stated that fresh EIA study was necessary to “safeguard the lives of the people, livestock and environment in over 100 villages of nine mandals in Bhadradri-Kothagudem district near to the river banks facing the submergence threat with the backwaters of Polavaram project”.

After reassessing the PMF as 50 lakh cusecs, the CWC had request the project proponent to design the spillway accordingly.

It would not only result in the change of scope of the work in contrast to the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT) award provision and accordingly various clearances accorded considering the agreed flood design of 36 lakh cusecs need to be relooked upon, the Telangana gvernment submitted in the counter affidavit.

Stating that the evironmental cearance given for Polavaram project in October 2005 was valid only for five years, the Telengana government said in the counter affidavit that as per the condition precedent in that EC and in the wake of the revised PMF, the project requires fresh appraisal and clearances. Fresh appraisal is desired to ascertain the adverse impacts on the environment, forest, biodiversity, wildlife apart from the people in over 100 villages of Bhadrachalam, Dummugudem, Cherla, Vazedu, Venkatapuram, Burgampahad, Manuguru, Ashwapuram and Pinapaka mandals.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 6:17:57 PM |

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