'Environmental issues delaying national status to Polavaram'
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
"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
"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.