Andhra offers talks with Orissa over Polavaram project

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

BHUBANESWAR - The Andhra Pradesh government has offered to have a dialogue with Orissa to resolve issues related to the controversial Polavaram irrigation project, a senior Orissa official said Tuesday.

“Their principal secretary (Andhra Pradesh’s water resources department) had a discussion with me yesterday (Monday),” Orissa Water Resources Department Secretary S.C. Mohapatra told IANS.

“During the discussion he conveyed that the Andhra Pradesh government wants to have a dialogue to resolve the issues related to Polavaram project,” he said.

“We are waiting for a formal letter from them to decide our further course of action,” he said.

The Andhra Pradesh government’s latest move came after the central environment and forests ministry Monday questioned it for beginning the work on the project without holding public hearing in neighbouring Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

Both Orissa and Chhattisgarh have been demanding that the environmental clearance given to the project by the ministry should be cancelled.

According to the Andhra Pradesh government, the Rs.10,150 crore Polavaram project on the Godavari river will provide drinking water to 2.85 million people, produce 960 MW of power and give industry 23,500 million cubic feet of water.

The project, first envisioned by the British in 1941, has been facing opposition from people who fear displacement.

“The project is going to affect several bordering villages in our state. In case of floods, the back water of the Godavari will flow to its tributaries - Saberi and Sileru - in Malkangiri district, and submerge dozens of villages,” said a leader of Orissa’s ruling Biju Janata Dal.

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