Getting habituated to a habit...
There is a competition to live a life that takes you farther from your roots. Our roots are inevitably ecological. Having gained the wonderful experience of knowing ecology from close corners over the last two decades, I behave like an objective chronicler of it. This blog is meant to be a contemporary chronology of ecology, economics and we the being. The blog will have text and visuals. Ranjan Panda
Wednesday, May 7, 2014
WIO Update on Polavaram Dam Project Controversy
Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) Occasional Update: 8th May 2014
political maturity, refrain from rushing with Polavaram project:
asks political parties such as Congress and BJP
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
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
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.