Bhubaneswar: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) activists Tuesday staged a rally in Orissa demanding details of possible damage due to the Polavaram dam project on the Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh, recently approved by the central government.
Carrying posters and banners, activists of the party`s youth unit marched in Bhubaneswar from their office near Ram Mandir square to Raj Bhavan, the official residence of Governor M.C. Bhandare, police said.
They shouted slogans against the state government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the central government led by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a police official said.
"Arjun Sethi, a leader of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) was the union minister in charge of central water resources from 2000-04 and he should have scrapped the project at that time. Now the same BJD is opposing the project but only after the centre scrapped the mining project of Vedanta," a protest leader said.
"Both the state and central governments have not done any assessment about the possible damage the project will cause in Orissa," former state BJP president Suresh Pujari said.
"The state and central governments should come out with a white paper on the project detailing the possible damage," he said.
"If the government continues with the project, we will take this agitation to other parts of the state," he said.
According to the Andhra Pradesh government, the Rs.10,150-crore Polavaram irrigation project will provide drinking water to 2.85 million people, produce 960 MW of power and give industry 23,500 million cubic feet of water.
The union environment and forests ministry gave the final clearance in July for diversion of 3,731.07 hectares of forest land for the project on the condition that no submergence of forest land should take place in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.
The project, first envisioned by the British rulers in 1941 has, however, been facing opposition for decades from local residents who fear displacement, a concern shared by residents in Orissa and Chhattisgarh.