Thursday, January 22, 2015

why N.T.R. disliked polavaram

 Why  N.T.R.,Andhra Chief Minister discouraged polavaram dam?
Prof.T. shivajirao, director of Environmental studies ,
N.T.R. the founder of telugu desam party was essentially a people's man and  a champion of health and welfare of all the people, essentially the farmers and the farm labourers of Krishna and Godavari delta regions . In the contest of polavaram dam myself and Dr.K Sri Ramakrishnayyagaru , adviser to the chief minister on irrigation projects used to brief him on the advantages and disadvantages   ofsomenational and polavaram projects. I was a member of the expert committee on the environmental appraisal of polavaram project. I had the privilege to look into most of the reports prepared by various experts and different subjects relating to environmental impactsat national and statelevels.. Moreover myself and Dr. k.Sri Ramakrishnayya were members of the expert committee for environmental appraisal of the union ministry of environment  and forests during the period 1985 to 1987 and we had the opportunity to study in depth and debate on various irrigation and hydropower projects from various states of India, including the central Government organisations . When the Tehri development corporation approached the union ministry of environment and forestsfor environmental clearance. we used to examine the projects about their environmental impacts. Infact we have rejected clearance for the Tehridam  in Uttarpradesh and for this purpose we have prepared the report on dam break analysis and risk assessment and also examined disaster management reports. Based upon these reports and after consultations with the project authorities and their consultantsweconcluded that Tehri dam  will  be unsafe and highly risky and we suggested to the authorities to opt for implementing the run of the river schemes for utilizing the Ganga river water .
But the officials and politicians influenced by the contractors exerted pressure on the prime minister  to some have manage the ministry and give environment clearance for the project and permission was given. Having looked into the political and business interest inforcing the Government to yield to the political . with  regard to polavaram dam, we have interacted in December i,1994 with the chief minister, sri N.T. Ramarao about the longterm damazing aspects of polavaram as presented here.
1.Polavaram dam can functioneffectively only by linking it with the Inchampalli or Bhupalapatnam project. Unfortunately the Inchampalli project  did not meterialise due to extensive submersion of forests and human habitations upstream of the dam.
2.The central Government Agencies  are interested in this project because they are very keen to divert Godavari waters to Karnataka and Maharashtra  at any cost. Karnataka and Maharashtra will receive  35 Tmc of water free of cost.we suspected this diversion as a ploy to steal our river waters to south in the name of polavaramproject  A.P. C.M shri. N.T.R. was apposed to this concept of diversion ofour river waters to other states and that too free of cost twhen the upper states  can afford to pay the cost involved.or give in exchange some irrigation water in exchange from upper tunga and Bhadra projects to the uplands of droughtprone districts of Anantapur and Cuddapah of Rayalaseema
3.Lakhs of tribals’and poor people will be displaced and the cost of rehabilitation and resettlement will become very costly. And the cost benifite ratio will be against the project and it will be uneconamical  and hence there is no need for this project at the present time.
4.Dr. K.L.Rao warned that this project is under designed forMaximum floods and spillway sizes,endangering public safetyand asserted that there cannot be any transfer of Godavari water into Krishna basin .Hence the chief minister did not get interested to work for the project.,particularly when NTRlooked into the press statement of Dr.K.L.Rao's warning published in the indian Express and Andhra Prabha dailiesjust before MAYDAY of 1983
5.Coalbelts in telangana may be affected.,by getting inundated at a time the people want more coal energy for various purposes
6. In view of the Global warming, the flood in Godavari is likely to produce much higher levels of flood and its management will become difficult.and some dams may burst upstream ,jeopadising public safetyand environmental assets of high value
 7. The land to be irrigated under this project will face serious drainage problems in  about 4 lakh acars in Godavari and Krishna districtswhich will face water staginationduring rainy seasons  and loss of paddy.
8.The Kolleru lake which receives drainage water from Krishna and Godavari delta     canalss will have more Water which cannot be discharged into the sea as Upputeru drainage canal is inadequate, and the Kolleru lake cannot moderate the floods. Budameru channel also cannot moderate the floods and becomes a river of sorrow  as it causes inundation problems  in Vijayawada and Gudivada regionswhich are highly developeddue to urbanisation,industries and agriclture and so economic losses will be very high.
9.All development works between  VIjayawada thermal project will face inundation problems.,causing serious economic losses
10.Both Krishna and Godavari deltas will suffer due to higher floods . Due to drainage coming from Eastern ghatss  and this additional water from polavaram will add more water of about 200TMC from Godavari which makes the deltalands face more inundation and consequent salinisation in the long run.,making food prodction duffer a great deal
11.Rail and road bridges have to be modified as 250 TMC has to be transported from polavaram to Krishna barrage at the estern sloups of the eastern ghats and it will be suicidal for the entire rich delta lands  up to the bay of Bengal.over a vast strechof lowlands
12.This water transfer, from lurking danger to the trunkroad , stateroads , railway lines irrigation tanks and canals suffers from frequent floods  which will become more intensive due to the climate change impacts.
13. Delinking  the Krishna delta from Nagarjuna sagar and partly attaching the Krishna lands that receive irrigation water from polavaram  right canal makes the lands suffers from polavaram water as it promotes water stagnation.
14.This project conceived in 1941 was unduly delayed for morethan 50 years and its problems still remain unsolved . Due to heavy investment , less benefits , unresolved problems of ecological and Environmental aspects and the legal problems about the inundation problems likely to be faced by the state due to writ petition filed by Orissa and chattishgarh  against this project make the farmers suspect the intentions of the Government.
15.Since the drought areas of Rayalaseema and  Telangana do not get adequate benefit , Dr. K. Siva Rama Krishnayya prepared  a feasibility report to take up lift  irrigation for the present , leaving the construction of a reservoir s at Inchampalli  and polavaram to the wisdom, talent of the future generations.
16. When the state Government wanted fresh environment clearance from the union Government the central officials wanted an environmental impact assessment report.( E.I.A.), the state approached the national institute of hydrology (N.I.O.H.),an important wing of the Union ministry of water resources huge amounts were paid for obtaining the dam break analysis report for preparation of the Disaster management report . In 1999 the experts furnished  this report which clearly shows that the inflow Design Flood (I.D.F)  1,70.000 cumecs equivalent to about 60 lakhs cusecs as against the 36 lakhs cusecs wrongly assumed by the state Engineers . Consequently the caliculations of experts of C.W.C.for 50 lakhs cusecs had to be taken for the design of the project . Unfortunately the state did not make any corresponding revision for making revised updating of the rehabilitation and resettlement reports made earlier and the backwater levels have not been revised from 36 to 50 lakhs cusecs and hence the actual number of villages and the lands likely to be submerged have not been correctly made for presentation before the union ministry of environment for securing a revised environmental clearance . The required public hearing was not conducted as per law. Hence the work on the project remains suspended. Central Government took over the project as a national project and an authority named polavaram project authority was created recently to construct this project with central funding again all the clearences have to be obtained . Hence the project has to be revised by  converting the hazardous polavaram dam into safe and economical multi purpose barrages scheme which lis agreeable for the upper states and the Environmentalist who are opposing the dam . The chief minister of Andhra Pradesh Mr. Babu must take personel interest and solve the polavaram dam problem.

Incase the dam fails the costs of damage may run into 4 to 5 lakhs crores of rupees which is many times higher than the rupees 20,000 crores  and there by showing  that the project is a killer dam. Let us not forget  the  slogans of development without destruction and another ethical principle, “prevention is better than cure ’’and “sarveyjana sukhinobhavanthu”. .( Murphy Law of management).which states
that "Any Thing that can go wrong,will go wrong"and so is "Precautionary Principle"followed by courts.

About Me

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Born in 1932 at Mudinepalli, near Gudivada, Krishna Dist. Andhra Pradesh, received Bachelors degree in Civil Engg., from Viswesaraiah Engineering College, Banglore (1956) and Masters Degree in Environmental Engineering from Rice university, Houston, Texas, (USA) (1962), Ph.D (Hony). Former Head of the Department of Civil Engineering and principal of College of Engineering, Andhra university.Formerly Hony.Professor in Andhra University,Manonmanian Sundarnar University,JNT University. Fellow of the Institution of Engineers,India Recipient of the University Grants Commissions National Award "Swami Pranavananda Award on Ecology and Environmental Sciences" for the year 1991. Recipient of Sivananda Eminent Citizen Award for 2002 by Sanathana Dharma Charitable Trust, Andhra Pradesh state. Presently Working as Director, centre for Environmental Studies, GITAM University,