About 5000 Tribals in Odisha’s Malkangiri district would be displaced due to the construction of Polavaram Project in Andhra Pradesh, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik claimed in a statement and sought the intervention of National Commission for Scheduled Tribes (NCST) in this matter on January 19.
In a meeting with the NCST chairperson Nand Kumar Sai at the state secretariat, Naveen Patnaik raised the problems of Tribals in the state including the rehabilitation of tribal families and the release of pre and post-matriculation scholarships for the tribals students by the Centre.
Nand Kumar Sai said that proper arrangements for rehabilitation must be made to the project affected tribal families in all the three states. "Whether it is the case of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana or Odisha, there should be an alternative arrangement for their rehabilitation before the displacement of tribal people," he told.
Odisha government which had earlier opposed the construction of Polavaram dam, a central government project, is now demanding the rehabilitation of the tribal families who will be losing their livelihood due to the project.
According to official estimates, the multi-purpose irrigation project being constructed on Godavari river would displace about 3 lakh people submerging more than 300 villages including tribal hamlets.
On the other side, numerous reports on alleged corruption activities in the construction of the project are emerging. Earlier this month, the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has sent a letter to the Andhra Pradesh government asking to respond on an RTI application ‘Large scale corruption and illegalities in the execution of Polavaram Project’.
Yesterday, as a response, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandhra Babu Naidu briefed to media that the Union Minister of Water Resources Nitin Gadkari found no irregularities in the construction of the project.
The Hindu quoted Mr. Naidu as saying that the total project cost had escalated from Rs 16,100 crore in 2010-11 to approximately Rs 58,320 crore by 2013-14. He claimed that so far Rs 7,430 crore has been spent on the project while only Rs 4,325 crore was released by the Central government.
Here are the earlier reports on the Polavaram Project on Newsclick.
Andhra CM Ignoring Rehabilitating the people about to be Displaced by Polavaram Project
ACB Finds Discrepancies by Revenue Officials in Polavaram Project