23 October, 2020

Godavari Gatha

Is the Rs 13,500 crore Indirasagar dam another Narmada in the making? Despite protests, the project is on.

Godavari Gatha
"It is a historic moment. Call it god's gift." Thus spake a buoyant Andhra Pradesh CM Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy announcing the environmental clearance granted to the Rs 13,500 crore Indirasagar project on the Godavari. The Union ministry of environment and forests had removed one of the biggest hurdles in front of the controversial multi-purpose project. YSR had reason to be cheerful as the dam conceived in the pre-Independence era forms an important part of his government's massive irrigation programme.

But for about 2 lakh villagers in Polavaram, Devipatnam and seven mandals in Khammam, it was like a death knell. The 151-feet dam will submerge 276 villages, destroy 3,223 hectare of reserve forests and uproot the entire Koya and Kondareddy tribal communities.

Environmental clearance has acted like a red rag to greens, mainly because all the submerged, villages are scheduled areas where tribals live. Khammam, where 209 villages will be submerged is the worst hit. Then, 13 villages in Chhattisgarh and 10 in Orissa will be flooded. The dam's reservoirs would inundate...


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