Express News Service
29 Mar 2011
HYDERABAD: The Telangana (Political) Joint Action Committee (TJAC) and various rights organisations on Monday demanded that the state government immediately abolish Polavaram project and explore alternative options available to provide better irrigation facility to farm land.
The TJAC said the government should consider the woes of tribals and the adverse impact of the project on environment as 267 villages, including two lakh acres of farm land and 10,000 acres of reserve forest land will be submerged under it.
Talking to newsmen here, TJAC chairman M Kodandaram said people of Telangana were not opposed to the rightful share of coastal Andhra in Godavari river waters, but Polavaram project was not the only solution to irrigation problem. He urged people to stop linking the opposition to the Polavaram project to the Telangana movement. Instead, they should understand several other issues like environmental impact, livelihood of tribals and violation of their rights due to execution of the irrigation project.
Civil rights activists and environmentalists across the nation expressed concern over the project, he said.
The TJAC will convene a meeting soon with all those opposing the Polavaram project and prepare an action plan, including launching a legal fight against the government move, he said.
Tribal rights activist Sondu Veeraiah said the officials were providing wrong information to the government for unknown reasons. Contrary to the claims of officials, the project will benefit only three lakh acres of agricultural land and not 7.2 lakh acres. About 4 lakh acres under the proposed Polavaram project ayacut, are already getting irrigation water from small projects.
“Is it justifiable to execute Polavaram project at the cost of two lakh acres of farm land belonging to tribals and 10,000 acres of reserve forest land which get submerged under it?” he questioned.
The government is offering monetary compensation to tribals though the rules clearly specify that they should be provided alternative land, he said.
Human Rights Forum convener S Jeevan Kumar said the state government failed to address 18 issues raised by the Centre, including submersion of 10,000 acres of reserve forest, environmental impact, including threat to wildlife, and delay in allotment of land to tribals under the Forests Rights Act.
National Alliance of People’s Movement (NAPM) state convener Ramakrishna Raju, social activists Rukmini Rao and V Gandhi Babu also spoke.