Principal Secretary to government S K Joshi has written to Secretary, Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi, to accord sanction for construction of embankments along Sabari and Sileru rivers without insisting on the 'public hearing' in Chhattisgarh and Orissa as called for by Union Minister for Environment Jairam Ramesh.
Giving this information to media persons at the Secretariat on Wednesday, Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Lakshmiah revealed that the state government was not given sufficient time schedule to follow the procedure as desired by the Union Minister.
Giving details on all aspects, particularly why the state government could not conduct public hearing in those states, Mr Lakshmaiah revealed that Mr Joshi has written that there was no change in the scope of the project and as the flood protective bunds did not require environmental clearance as per EIA Notification, 2006.
Mr Joshi also made a plea that if the public hearing was mandatory, the same may be conducted as per the provisions of EIA notification through the process of arranging any other agency.
The Polavaram Project was designed to irrigate 2.91 lakh hectares. It would provide 960 mw power, diverts 80 TMC of water from Godavari to Krishna river, supplies 23.44 TMC of water to Visakhapatnam.
The project supplies water to 540 villages for 28.5 lakh people. Any delay will result in cost escalation and deprive the farmers of their due share, Mr Joshi had pointed out in his letter.