Hyderabad, March 19 (IANS) Environment and Forests Minister Jairam Ramesh Saturday advised Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Orissa to find a way out of their row over Andhra’s proposed Polavaram irrigation project on the Godavari river, which threatens to submerge a dozen villages in the neighbouring two states.
The minister, who met Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy here, told reporters that Reddy promised him to take some initiatives.
He said his ministry issued a show cause notice to Andhra government as it did not hold a public hearing in the two states even two years after getting forest clearance for building the dam across the Godavari river. The hearing should have been held within 45 days.
Ramesh said the Andhra government told the ministry that it was unable to conduct public hearings in Chhattisgarh and Orissa as the two states were not cooperating.
Ramesh said that while giving forest clearance for the project, the ministry set the conditions that construction of the dam should be completed side by side with the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) works, all such activities must be monitored independently and there should be no submergence in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
The Polvaram project will submerge four village in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh and eight villages of Malkangiri district of Orissa. As part of Bachawat Commission decision, the Andhra government agreed to spend Rs.620 crore to build protective embankments in the neighbouring states along 30-km stretch of Sabari and Sileru rivers.
Ramesh said the Andhra government was also required to hold public hearings in the villages where 170,000 people need rehabilitation.
“I hope we will be able to find a way out. Polvaram project is needed, the law of the land has to be upheld, and there should be no submergence in Orissa and Chhattisgarh,” the minister added.