Polavaram will render people from 192 villages homeless

Deccan Chronicle | April 11, 2021

KAKINADA: All those who have been displaced from 192 villages because of Polavaram Project are living in fear amid insecurity. They are all worried that the villages would be submerged in June or July because of cyclones and floods. They appealed to the Union and state governments to provide a relief and resettlement package to them, before the completion of Polavaram Project.

According to them, nearly 3.5 lakh people, from Schedule Tribe and Scheduled Caste, are facing a threat of their livelihood. According to sources, the government completed 70 per cent of Polavaram project works by the end of December but only four percent of the R & R package was implemented. The Chief Minister aimed at completing the project by the year-end.

As per the 2017 statistics, 5,08,874 persons have been displaced and the number may increase.

The state government had announced that 371 villages will be submerged due to the project and CCLA has given permission for providing R&R package to 164 villages. However, only 15 villages have been given partial R&R packages.

Indian Association of Lawyers state executive member Inapurapu Suryanaryana said that the Comptroller and Audit General (CAG) found fault with the project as there is no MoU between Centre and the state government on construction of Polavaram project and advised the state government to reach a truce with the Union Government for the sake of the project.

To avoid submergence problems, the Centre advised state governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh to construct protection walls at eight and four places, respectively. But, either has obliged. He said that the Union Government has also not taken any steps to have cases filed in the Supreme Court to be withdrawn by Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

SC, ST vigilance and monitoring committee district member Ayithabathula Rameswara Rao demanded the government to halt Polavaram project works till the completion of R&R package works to 371 villages. He said that the ST Commission recommendations have not been implemented by the governments so far. Adivasi maha sabha district secretary Karam Venkateswara Rao said that tribal people should be given fertile lands as compensation. The government should provide livelihood to people who will lose their forest products. He demanded the government should make a fresh integrated survey on the number of displaced persons and families under the project under New Land Acquisition Amendment Act, as the socio economic survey was last done in 2005 and there were no environmental clearance for the project till 2009.