New Delhi: The Supreme Court Monday turned
down Orissa`s plea to stay construction of the controversial Polavaram dam by Andhra Pradesh and directed former Central
Water Commission (CWC) member M Gopalakrishnan to inspect the
project along with CWC and submit separate reports to it.
A bench of justices Mukundakam Sharma and A R Dave
said Gopalakrishnan would inspect the dam along with present
CWC members and submit their reports to the apex court by July
19, the next date of hearing.
The apex court, however, refused to entertain Orissa`s
plea for staying the dam`s construction, saying "it will be
difficult for us to stay the construction at this stage."
The bench`s remark came in response to a plea by
senior counsel Raju Ramachandran, appearing for Orissa, who
insisted that the the work should be stopped pending
submission of the expert panel`s report.
When the counsel insisted on the stay, the apex court
said it can be demolished later if it was found to be built in
violation of norms.
The counsel continued to plead that the construction
should be stopped as it would not be possible to demolish the dam at a later stage as expectations would be built among the beneficiaries and there would be protest by farmers leading to chaos.
The bench, while refusing to stay the construction,
assured the counsel that it would examine the plea if and when
a situation arises.
The apex court also allowed technical experts from
Orissa, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and
Chhattisgarh to be present at the site when the CWC team
conducts the inspection.
The bench also said that the reports of Gopalakrishnan
and the CWC would be considered by the court without prejudice
to the suits filed by Orissa.
According to Andhra Pradesh government, the project
will provide drinking water to three million people, produce
960 MW of power and give 23,500 million cubic feet of water
for industrial use.