Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WIO Update on Polavaram Dam Project Controversy

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) Occasional Update: 8th May 2014

Show political maturity, refrain from rushing with Polavaram project:
WIO asks political parties such as Congress and BJP

Dear Friends/Co-sailors,

As you know, the UPA government’s cabinet has started a very undemocratic precedence by clearing the proposal for constituting the Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) for the execution of the Polavaram irrigation project.  We at Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) have objected to it from the day one by terming it as “not only illegal but also done at a wrong timing”.

This, as we have pointed out, is certainly a move to woo voters and influence the election process that is going on.  We have strongly condemned this action of the union cabinet and have urged upon the Election Commission to take immediate action, under appropriate clauses, against all the cabinet ministers who have been part of this decision.

The Polavaram project’s clearances – including the forest and environmental clearances – have been mired with controversies. There are several cases pending against this Project, filed by environmental activists and state governments of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.  The cabinet of the outgoing UPA government therefore has no right to take such a hasty decision at this juncture.
It has been reported that the proposed Authority will clear apprehensions about the project and instill confidence in both the successor States of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh as also other riparian States of Odisha, Chhattisgarh and carry out the project in a transparent and equitable manner, according to informed sources.  We have our serious doubts over this.  The central government under UPA has miserably failed in settling the matters amicably and in transparent manner.  In fact, it has violated the laws of the land in pushing through this project.

In April 2013, the Union Minister for Water Resources Harish Rawat had said in Delhi that “there would be secretary-level tripartite meeting soon among the three stakeholders - Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh - to iron out differences and facilitate an amicable solution”.  “What has happened to that promise?  Have the states, objected to this project, and already agreed to your proposals?”

WIO urges upon the UPA government to scrap the cabinet decision immediately and wait until the next government is formed for any further developments on this project.

The Polavaram dam project is going to bring huge ecological and socio-economic destructions and political parties should stop showing dreams about such unsustainable projects.  Large dams are outdated concepts and the country needs alternatives in smaller structures of power generation and irrigation that would decentralize development and make benefits reach to larger sections of society in sustainable manners. 
WIO has urged upon politicians of Congress and BJP, and all other parties who are promising to support the Polavaram project, to show political maturity and talk about sustainable alternatives rather than such mega projects that come with lot of devastative impacts.

The Odisha government has already reacted to this decision and after we stepped up our advocacy effort has now decided to go to the Supreme Court against this decision.  However, the action of the government so far have been very slow and full of ambiguity. 

WIO is on the job of pressurising the government and working with other groups who are convinced that the Polavaram dam project is going to be a socio-economic and ecological disaster for the region.  We would request all like-minded people to join hands with us in this. 


You can find links to media coverage of this update at the following links:

Please contact us for further details.

Thanks and regards,


To save Rivers and Water bodies, please join our campaigns...
Ranjan K Panda
Convenor, Water Initiatives Odisha, INDIA
Mahanadi River Waterkeeper (Member, Waterkeeper Alliance, New York)

Mobile: +919437050103

Skype: ranjan.climatecrusader

Water talks to me, I speak for Water...

Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) is a coalition of civil society organisations, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, which has been working on water, environment and climate change issues in the state for more than two decades now.

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