Bhubaneswar, May 7 UNI | 3 months ago

The Odisha government has decided to move the Supreme court against the Union Cabinet's decision to constitute Polavaram Project Authority to speed up the execution work of the controversial irrigation project by the Andhra Pradesh government.

State Water Resources Department secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra today indicated that the state government would soon appeal to the Apex court against the decision of the union cabinet.

As per the cabinet's recent decision the Polavaram Project Authority will be working as an autonomous body under the chairmanship of a Chief Executive Officer, to be appointed by the Centre to look into the execution of the Irrigation project.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already dubbed the decision of the cabinet to constitute Polavaram project Authority as 'unfortunate and against the interest of the people of Odisha' Mr Patnaik also slammed BJP Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for supporting the controversial Polavaram project.

The Chief Minister said these two leaders' statement on Polavaram was a clear indication of the negative attitude towards the interest of the state and its people.

The Odisha government had moved the Apex court against the construction of the Polavaram project and the matter was still pending in the court. The state government had appealed to the court to lower the height of the Polavaram project so that the project will not submerge the vast areas of Malkangiri district and displace large number of people residing in the proposed project area.

The Odisha Chief Minister had asserted that the government will take all possible steps to ensure that no area in the state would be submerged in the project and not a single people displaced by the project.

Official sources here said the government had decided to appeal before the Apex court after examining the decision taken by the Union cabinet in this regard.

The state governmnent has been arguing that the project if implemented will submerge a vast area of Malkangiri district and displace a large number of people in several villages in the district.

Meanwhile, the Water Initiative of Odisha (WIO), an organisation working for conservation of water, has also described the UPA cabinet's nod to constitute Polavaram Project Authority as undemocratic and an effort to woo the voters in the elections.

WIO Convenor Ranjan Panda has urged the Election Commission to take immediate action, under appropriate clauses, against all the cabinet ministers who have been part of this decision.

He also urged all the major political parties to show political maturity and put pressure on the UPA government to refrain from rushing with the Polavaram project

The project, Mr Panda claimed, has not received necessary legal and environmental clearances.

There are several cases pending against the project filed by environmental activists and state governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

The cabinet of the outgoing UPA government, therefore, has no right to take such a hasty decision at this juncture, he remarked.

(Posted on 08-05-2014)