Hyderabad, Feb 7 (IANS) Demanding the central government declare the construction of the Polavaram dam a national project, former Congress MP Y.S Jaganmohan Reddy Monday launched a ‘yatra’ in Andhra Pradesh’s coastal East Godavari district.
The young leader, who plans to launch a new party next week, began the ‘yatra’ at Ravulapalem.
Accompanied by his supporters, he will walk 70 km to reach the site of the project Feb 10, where the “Harita Yatra” will culminate in a public meeting at Polavaram.
Jagan, as he is popularly known, underlined the need for taking up the project as a national project to fulfill the long-cherished dream of the farmers of the region. He recalled Polavaram was also the dream project of his father and late chief minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy.
“If the central government fails to provide funds, the state government should take it up,” he said.
Jagan noted that the project across Godavari River was first proposed in 1945 and it was Rajasekhara Reddy who took steps to make it a reality.
Polavaram, if built, will be south India’s biggest dam, providing irrigation to 7.19 lakh acres in the uplands of the East Godavari, West Godavari Visakhapatnam and Krishna districts.
The Rs.12,000 crore project was given environmental clearance in 2005.
However, the neighboring states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh have raised objections, saying the dam would submerge many villages in their areas.
The environment ministry had sought an explanation from the Andhra Pradesh government in November last year for beginning work on the project without holding public hearings in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.