Polavaram Project To Displace Over 1 Lakh People in Andhra Pradesh

Reported by

Furkan Khan

Legal Data by

Edited by

Updated by

Published on

September 20, 2016

September 20, 2016

Updated on

September 20, 2016

Location of Conflict

Polavaram

East Godavari

Reason or Cause of Conflict

Multipurpose Dam

Eviction and lack of proper rehabilitation, forest land submergence

(

National Park

)

People Affected by Conflict

117034

Households Affected by Conflict

Land Area Affected (in Hectares)

38186

ha

Starting Year

2005

State

Andhra Pradesh

Sector

Infrastructure

The Polavaram project is a multipurpose irrigation and hydroelectricity project. Although it is located on the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh, some parts of the neighbouring states Odisha and Chhattisgarh will also be submerged. The idea for the project was proposed in 1948, but it materialised only in 2005. Construction started after the environmental clearance was granted but before the forest clearance in 2010. This is because the state government did not realise that it would need to construct embankments until much later, which required forest clearance. According to government estimates, the project will submerge 276 villages in Andhra Pradesh alone. However, this figure is contradicted by news reports that suggest that more than 300 villages will be affected. According to one report, the project will displace between 200,000400,000 people. Between 20132014, the Polavaram project played a central role in negotiations in the formation of Telangana. The Andhra Pradesh government made Telengana's approval a fundamental condition for entering into negotiations. In this process, the project was declared a national project eligible for funds from the Central government. The project has faced protest over the alarming numbers of tribal communities and other forest dwellers who will be displaced across Andhra Pradesh, Odisha and Chhattisgarh. About 3,000 tribespeople participated in a protest rally in early 2005 in Chittoor and submitted a memorandum to the Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO). When the MRO refused to meet the delegation and receive the memorandum, the rally turned violent when a few demonstrators damaged the office furniture. The police arrested 11 protesters. Apart from the massive displacement the dam will cause, environmentalists and activists have also pointed out the adverse impact on the archaeological sites, coal deposits and wildlife sanctuaries, such as the Papikonda National Park. Until 2010, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remained steadfast in his demand for compensation and rehabilitation for the affected population of Odisha. In June 2018, he wrote to the Centre asking to halt the Polavaram Project. Ignoring his plea, the Andhra Pradesh government continued work. However, in November 2019, the project faced a hurdle with the new government coming to power in Andhra Pradesh. Chief Minister Y.S. Jaganmohan Reddy decided to terminate the contract awarded to Navayuga Engineering. The termination would have delayed the construction as well as the rehabilitation and resettlement plan for the project. The decision was struck down by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. The Centre has given a twoyear deadline to the Andhra Pradesh government to complete the project. Protests continue till date at the project site. In May 2020, Anil Kumar, irrigation minister in the Government of Andhra Pradesh, said, "The Rehabilitation and Resettlement work has resumed. The government has decided to construct 15,00018,000 houses for those who will be displaced in Andhra Pradesh." Furthermore, about 2,000 families, mostly tribal families that will be affected by the project in Odisha and Chattisgarh, will be rehabilitated by the Central government. As of March 2021, 98,818 projectaffected families were to be displaced in both East and West Godavari districts. A PIL was filed at the Andhra Pradesh High Court by SAKTI, an NGO, as basic amenities were not available at the resettlement areas. The Court ordered that the rehabilitation should not take place until the amenities are provided at the resettlement areas.

Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Demand for rehabilitation

Refusal to give up land for the project

Demand for compensation

Other Demand/Contention of the Affected Community

Against giving land for the project fearing submergence

Region Classification

Rural

Type of Land

Both

Type of Common Land

Forest and Non-Forest

Total investment involved (in Crores):

9072

Type of investment:

Cost of Project

Year of Estimation

Page Number In Investment Document:

Has the Conflict Ended?

When did it end?

Why did the conflict end?

Categories of Legislations Involved in the Conflict

Land Acquisition Laws, Forest and Scheduled Area Governance Laws, Environmental Laws, Constitutional Law

Legislations/Policies Involved

Andhra Pradesh State Rehabilitation and Resettlement Policy, 2005
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    Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Suspendisse varius enim in eros elementum tristique. Duis cursus, mi quis viverra ornare, eros dolor interdum nulla, ut commodo diam libero vitae erat. Aenean faucibus nibh et justo cursus id rutrum lorem imperdiet. Nunc ut sem vitae risus tristique posuere.

Whether claims/objections were made as per procedure in the relevant statute

What was the claim(s)/objection(s) raised by the community?

What was the Decision of the Concerned Government Department?

Legal Processes and Loopholes Enabling the Conflict:

Non-rehabilitation of displaced people

Non-implementation/violation of FRA

Controversial land acquisition by the government

Incorrect estimation of compensation

Use of old/outdated laws

Delay in compensation

Violation of environmental laws

Delay in allottment and possession of land/property

Legal Status:

In Court

Status of Case In Court

Whether any adjudicatory body was approached

Name of the adjudicatory body

Name(s) of the Court(s)

High Court of Andhra Pradesh

Case Number

Main Reasoning/Decision of court

Major Human Rights Violations Related to the Conflict:

Arrest/detention/imprisonment

Whether criminal law was used against protestors:

Reported Details of the Violation:

Local organisations took out a rally in early 2005 at Chintoor with 3,000 tribal people participating and submitted a memorandum to the Mandal Revenue Officer (MRO). When the MRO refused to meet the delegation and receive the memorandum, the rally turned violent as a few demonstrators damaged the office furniture. In this incident, 11 protesters were arrested. Considering it a serious violation of human rights, the organisations continued their protest for the second day and organised a 'rasta roko'. They shot arrows and burnt the effigy of the chief minister. Since then, anti-Polavaram protests have continued on a regular basis.

Date of Violation

Location of Violation

Nature of Protest

Blockades

Complaints/petitions/letters/memorandums to officials

Protests/marches

Government Departments Involved in the Conflict:

Government of Andhra Pradesh, Government of Orissa, Government of Chattisgarh, Government of Telangana

PSUs Involved in the Conflict:

Did LCW Approach Government Authorities for Comments?

Name, Designation and Comment of the Government Authorities Approached

Corporate Parties Involved in the Conflict:

Soma Consortium, China Gezhouba Group Company

Did LCW Approach Corporate Parties for Comments?

Communities/Local Organisations in the Conflict:

SAKTI NGO, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist), Telangana Rashtra Samithi, National Alliance of People’s Movement

Resources Related to Conflict

  • News Articles Related to the Conflict:
  • Documents Related to the Conflict:
  • Links Related to the Conflict:

Image Credit:  

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