About Polavaram dam project
- Polavaram irrigation project is a multipurpose irrigation project across Godavari river in West Godavari district with its reservoirs spreading across states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa as well.
- The project implements Godavari-Krishna link under Interlinking of rivers project.
- Indira Sagar (Polavaram) project is located on river Godavari near Ramayyapet village of Polavaram Mandal of West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh
- It is an interstate project on river Godavari has been conceived as a part of recommendations of Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT). GWDT finalized its award in 1980 .
- The award identifies individual projects that can be taken up by the co-basin states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh (including Chhattisgarh), Odisha, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the main Godavari river as well as its tributaries.
- As a part of the award, the states of Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha executed an agreement dated 02-04-1980 to enable clearance of Polavaram Project to be undertaken by Andhra Pradesh.
- The project is multipurpose major terminal reservoir project on river Godavari for development of Irrigation, Hydropower and drinking water facilities to East Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, West Godavari and Krishna districts of Andhra Pradesh.
- It is a national project which implies that its implementation is monitored by the Central Water Commission.
- The project is slated to be complete by 2019.
- The project endeavours to develop irrigation, drinking water facilities and hydropower to regions of East Godavari, Vishakhapatnam, Krishna and West Godavari districts of Andhra Pradesh.
- The Centre had in 1980 accepted the verdict of Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal and made it binding on the concerned river basin states.
- According to the tribunal’s verdict, the agreements arrived between the riparian states at the sub-basin level were vetted by the states of the entire Godavari basin and no state could back out of the total tribunal award.
- Recently, a petition was filed by an NGO, RELA which submitted that the dam design had been changed and new components added, thus requiring a new environmental clearance
- Primary among the questions being considered by the Bench is whether the dam project and its design, as approved by the Central Water Commission, is in consonance with the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal (GWDT) award of 1980.
- Crucially, the court has to examine whether the change in the design, especially in so far as it raises the spill-way discharge capacity from 36 lakh cusecs to 50 lakh cusecs, is so fundamental that it amounts to violation of the GWDT Award, and, therefore, requires fresh statutory clearances to be obtained.
- Also, a series of 13 questions were framed by the Bench in a suit filed by Odisha against Andhra Pradesh in 2007. Among them, the court had also decided to look into the back water effect of the project.
- Also, the court has directed the Centre to file an affidavit detailing the conduct of the public hearing, including which government agency would hold it. The court said it would pass orders on 3 December 2018.
Significance of Polavaram Project
- The project will be a one-stop solution for all the water needs of the Andhra Pradesh
- Polavaram will benefit all the 13 districts of A.P, directly and indirectly.
- Polavaram project dam being built on River Godavari can help divert and utilise Godavari water to Krishna and other rivers. If executed well, this project can make the state drought-free forever.
- The project implements Godavari-Krishna link under Interlinking of rivers project. The project envisages transfer of 80TMC of surplus Godavari water to river Krishna which will be shared between AP, Karnataka and Maharashtra.
Section : Environment & Ecology