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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 governments 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 projects 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.