BJD to protest Polavaram project construction

Bhubaneswar, Jan 2 (IANS) Odisha’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Saturday announced a demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan in the state capital and a ‘hartal’ in Koraput district on January 7 to protest the construction of the Polavaram irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh.

The BJD demanded an immediate halt in the construction work until the Supreme Court verdict comes out.

BJD leader Sasibhusan Behera said public meetings to get people’s approval were not conducted in areas that would be affected by the project, and said many villages of Malkangiri district would be submerged.

The party would launch a protest in undivided Koraput district — comprising Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada and Nabarangpur — against the Polavaram project, BJD leader and Industry Minister Debi Prasad Mishra told reporters here.

Essential services like ambulance and medicine stores will remain unaffected, he said.

He said the centre backed neighbouring Andhra Pradesh on the Polavaram irrigation project, declaring it a national project and extending cooperation for the construction work, but the project never obtained clearance from the tribal affairs ministry.

The BJD leaders said that though a committee has sought time from Prime Minister Narendra Modi to inform him about the issue, they were yet to get any intimation from the Prime Minister’s Office.

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