Report on Polavaram project, 08/09/2020
Report of the Committee comprising of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), Additional PCCF, Telangana State Pollution Control Board and representatives of District Collector, Khammam in the matter of Original Application No. 110/2019 (PB) in compliance to National Green Tribunal (NGT) orders dated February 20, 2020.
An application was filed before the NGT by Dr. Ponguleti Sudhakar Reddy. The application was against Polavaram project regarding submergence in Bhadrachalam and displacement of hundreds of families without any plan for rehabilitation. The NGT vide order February 20, 2020 ordered for the constitution of a Committee comprising of representatives of CPCB, Additional PCCF, Telangana State Pollution Control Board and District Collector, Khammam to examine the issues raised in the complaint.
Synopsis of the report:
The Committee in its report said that the Polavaram project was nearing completion. Though assessment of project affected area and people affected in the state of Odisha and Chhattisgarh had been carried out but neither rehabilitation plan or construction of protective embankments which has been proposed - are not undertaken by project authority since Odisha and Chhattisgarh are yet to give their consent for either one of the options.
As per information furnished by Resettlement & Rehabilitation Commissioner, the total number of villages affected by project only in Andhra Pradesh (including the seven mandals of Telangana transferred to Andhra Pradeesh) was 371.
The rehabilitation of project affected people as per Land Acquisition Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh was under progress while in East Godavari district socio economic survey and the eligibility list of project affected families was yet to be prepared.
Issues related to stagnation of drainage and stagnation of local streams and Kinnerasani river which may cause flash-submergence locally are anticipated to occur by Telangana post completion of the project if water is maintained at full reservoir level (FRL) for some days in the reservoir. But Polavaram Project Authority or Water Resources Department (WRD), Andhra Pradesh have not examined these issues, the report said.
The Committee informed the Tribunal that in order to clarify all the apprehensions about the project and to address key issues - the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA), Central Water commission, Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal and Water Resource Department, Andhra Pradesh jointly within a period of two months should convene a meeting with upstream states namely Telangana, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
During the meeting the upstream states can clarify their apprehensions and put forth the anticipated impacts due to Polavaram project and the same may be examined by PPA and WRD, AP. This would help in devising appropriate mitigative measures to safeguard the dam and as well as interests of upstream states.