Orissa objects to Andhra’s new irrigation project

January 23rd, 2009 - 12:19 am ICT by IANS  

Bhubaneswar, Jan 22 (IANS) The Orissa government Thursday said it would formally object to a mega irrigation project in neighouring Andhra Pradesh, which has been approved by the Central Water Commission. “We came to know from newspaper reports that the commission has recently (this week) given approval to the Polavaram project. We are strongly objecting to it,” said C.V. Prasad, chief engineer of project planning and formulation of the Orissa water resources department, told IANS.

“We will write a letter to the commission as well as to the central government expressing our concern,” he said, adding that the state government will also seek the intervention of the Supreme Court in the matter.

“We had filed a suit in the Supreme Court one and half years ago when the Andhra Pradesh government started construction work on the project without consulting us,” he said. “We will inform the court about this new development and will seek intervention.”

The controversial Rs.10,150-crore (115 billion) Indira Sagar Polavaram multipurpose irrigation project would be built on river Godavari in Andhra Pradesh.

The Andhra Pradesh government has claimed that the project after completion will provide drinking water to 2.85 million people, produce 960 MW of power and give industry 23.5 thousand million cubic feet of water.

The project first envisioned by the British administration in 1941 has, however, been facing opposition since decades from local residents who fear displacement as well as from the states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh.

In case of flood condition, after completion of the project the back water of the river Godavari will flow to its tributaries Saberi and Sileru in Orissa and Chhattisgarh and submerge dozens of bordering villages, Prasad said.

Andhra government has said it will put some embankments on the rivers but that is not the solution, he said, adding no proper study was made to know the amount of damage it will cause in Orissa.

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