`Environmental issues delaying national status to Polavaram`
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Last Updated: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 20:55
Hyderabad: Some environmental issues have delayed according of national status to the multi-purpose Polavaram project but the Environment Ministry is addressing them, Union Water Resources Minister Salman Khurshid said on Thursday.

"That (national status) is not a problem. There are some minor issues on environment. I am in touch with (Union Environment Minister) Jairam Ramesh. We are working on a fast track to see how it can be done," he told reporters on the sidelines of a workshop on National Water Policy.

"It’s a 'thin' ministry. I cannot put a deadline to it. He (Ramesh) is an MP from your state. He has promised that it will be done very soon," he said.

The Polavaram project on Godavari river was conceived as a multi--purpose scheme providing irrigation to 4.36 lakh hectares, water supply to towns and villages en route, and generating hydel power with an installed capacity of 960 MW.

The project envisaged construction of an earth-cum-rockfill dam. The investment clearance to the project was given by the Planning Commission in February 2009.

Asked about the demand for giving national status to Pranahita-Chevella project, he said it was under examination.

"We have laid down certain parameters for projects that are national and projects that are not national. There are two aspects involved. One is funding and the other is to get it on fast track (as) it goes through series of scrutiny. It has to go through the scrutiny of the Central Water Commission, the Ministry, then Finance Ministry; they have a committee, and Planning Commission. Only then it can be done. It is not a one window clearance.

"Now, we are looking at how it can be improved in terms of time it takes. The meetings of each of these levels take place twice or three times a year. You have to keep waiting. If a clarification is sought, it goes back. Then you miss two meetings. So, we are trying to improve on this," he said.


First Published: Thursday, June 16, 2011, 20:55

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