‘No To Polavaram Dam’ Campaign By HRF

The recent clamour for the Indira Sagar (Polavaram) multi-purpose project by the government and several political parties saying it would usher in progress across the State, betrays utter lack of sensitivity to the plight of those who have to bear the cost of this project. It seeks to either deliberately ignore or downplay the sustained voices against the project, particularly of the adivasis.

The Human Rights Forum (HRF) believes that this project would entail huge devastation. If constructed, Polavaram would be a massive displacer of people numbering nearly three lakh from over 300 villages in nine mandals of the State, all of them in the Fifth Schedule area. The submergence will be in Devipatnam and Polavaram mandals in East and West Godavari respectively and seven mandals in Khammam district namely VR Puram, Kunavaram, Chinthur, Bhadrachalam, Velerpadu, Kukunur and Burghampad. A majority of the displaced would be Adviasis of the koya and konda reddy tribes.

The project would destroy a large swathe of pristine forest in these areas, apart from parts of Konta block in Dantewada district of Chattisgarh and Motu block of Malkangiri district of Orissa. It will grossly undermine the livelihood of Adivasis who have a symbiotic relationship with the forest.

A closer examination of the Polavaram project reveals that it is basically intended to water regions that are already developed and to feed several hugely water-guzzling industrial corridors by the coast.

Why should people in such large numbers, that too principally Adivasis and Dalits and other marginalised communities, be subjected to huge deprivation for the greater development of developed areas? Or uninterrupted supply of water to Special Economic Zones and Industrial Corridors?

Significantly, Polavaram does great injustice to Telangana, particularly the water starved upland areas of north Telangana because it diverts substantial quantities of water away from the Godavari basin districts of the region.

The forest clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) on July 28 last year for the project was the result of plain violation of the Forest Rights Act (FRA), 2006 on a number of counts. The gram sabha consent for diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes has not been obtained. In fact, forest rights committees have not even been set up at the gram sabha level. If Vedanta was stopped from mining bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills of Orissa because of FRA violations, the same must apply to Polavaram too.

The HRF, along with 21 Adivasi and Dalit organisations, has already campaigned for two days last October in 33 villages of VR Puram, Kunavaram and Chinthur mandals seeking immediate cancellation of the forest clearance accorded to the project. These organisations will be continuing the ‘No to Polavaram Dam’ campaign on February 19 and 20 and hope to cover over 30 villages (all in the proposed submergence zone) in the Velerpadu and Kukunur mandals of Khammam district.

VS Krishna
(HRF State general secretary)

S Jeevan kumar
                                               (HRF State president)


Related Posts

Scroll to Top