Centre rejects T’gana’s fresh study demand on Polavaram

Published on Sep 30, 2022 12:11 AM IST

Secretary in the ministry of Jal Sakthi Pankaj Kumar conveyed it to the Telangana irrigation department authorities during a virtual meeting with officials of the four states – Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh -- to discuss the backwater effects of the Polavaram project

Last week, Telangana special chief secretary (irrigation) Rajat Kumar wrote a letter to the Centre asking for a comprehensive study on the backwater effects of the Polavaram project in the wake of massive floods to the Godavari in the second week of July. (HT Archives)
Last week, Telangana special chief secretary (irrigation) Rajat Kumar wrote a letter to the Centre asking for a comprehensive study on the backwater effects of the Polavaram project in the wake of massive floods to the Godavari in the second week of July. (HT Archives)

Hyderabad

The Union Jal Sakthi ministry on Thursday rejected the demand of the Telangana government to commission a fresh study on the impact of backwaters of the Polavaram major irrigation project being constructed on the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh.

Secretary in the ministry of Jal Sakthi Pankaj Kumar conveyed it to the Telangana irrigation department authorities during a virtual meeting with officials of the four states – Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh -- to discuss the backwater effects of the Polavaram project.

The meeting was convened as per the directions of the Supreme Court on September 6 to clear the apprehensions of Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the submergence of villages in the backwaters of the project due to change in the design of the project enhancing its storage capacity.

Last week, Telangana special chief secretary (irrigation) Rajat Kumar wrote a letter to the Centre asking for a comprehensive study on the backwater effects of the Polavaram project in the wake of massive floods to the Godavari in the second week of July.

Kumar pointed out that if the Polavaram project is completed, there will be inundation threat to several villages in Telangana, besides the temple town of Bhadrachalam, Manuguru heavy water plant and Bhadradri thermal power station.

At the Thursday’s meeting, Kumar raised the issues again and requested that a fresh survey be conducted on the impact of Polavaram backwaters and remedial measures be taken.

A senior official of the Andhra Pradesh irrigation department said Pankaj Kumar clarified that the Centre had already got scientific survey done twice in 2009 and 2011, which suggested that there would be no additional flood threat to any of the places in the other three states.

“Irrespective of the construction of Polavaram project, these areas have been facing submergence every year due to floods to Godavari river. Even if the project is completed, there would no additional flood threat to these areas. Not even one-third of these areas would be submerged after the project is completed,” he said.

With regard to the apprehensions raised by Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the Andhra Pradesh irrigation official said the state government had already come forward to construct bunds all along the river course in these states, but it required the conduct of public hearings in the affected villages.

“While Chhattisgarh has agreed in principle for the conduct of public hearing, Odisha has not given the consent,” the official said.

The Union Jal Sakthi secretary said another meeting would be held on October 7 to discuss the technicalities of these issues pertaining to the submergence of areas in the backwaters of Polavaram and a report would be submitted to the Supreme Court subsequently.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Srinivasa Rao is Senior Assistant Editor based out of Hyderabad covering developments in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana . He has over three decades of reporting experience.

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