Polavaram

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    In News

    • Recent Rehabilitation efforts have caused significant cultural Trauma for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in the region.

    About

    • Polavaram is a  National multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh.
    • It will facilitate an inter-basin water transfer from the Godavari River to the Krishna river through its Right canal.
    • Its reservoir spreads in parts of Chhattisgarh and Orissa States also.
    • The project is a multipurpose major terminal reservoir project for the development of Irrigation, Hydropower and drinking water facilities.
    • The project was started in 2008, accorded national status in 2014 in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act.
    • Although The Andhra Pradesh government extended the completion date to the 2022 Kharif season, work is still pending on the project.

    The necessity of the project 

    • Creation of Irrigation potential : Domestic & Industrial Water supply to the cities, towns & villages en route and Steel Plant and other industries in the vicinity.
    • Utilisation of Hydroelectric Power.: Development of Pisciculture, Navigation for Mineral & Forest produce and urbanisation besides tourism with new picnic spots.
    • Flood Control: The floods in the Godavari are causing damage to standing crops and loss of property and cattle-worth several crores in the plains, with the help of the Polavaram Irrigation Project flow of the river can be regulated. 
    • Navigation: The Polavaram Project facilitates cheap and quick transport of forest produce and food grains to the marketing centres 

    Concerns 

    • Rehabilitation: It can affect the social, cultural and economical structure of the region considerably. Especially forcing people, whose settlement areas and lands remain underwater to migrate, affect their psychology negatively.
      • It could result in the submergence of a considerable amount of its territory, including protected tribal areas. 
      • Many PVTG’s like  Konda Reddis have their life intertwined with the river.Rehabilitation of such groups far away from the river causes unbearable harm to their Tribal culture.
    • Destruction of Habitat : The water regime may change as a result of the destruction of nature, unexpected floods may occur and consequently vegetation and natural structures in the riverbanks can be damaged.
    • Affects Fauna: Normal passing ways of territorial animals can be hindered.

    Way Forward:

    • The implementing authorities should take into consideration the cultural dependence of the tribal people on the river while considering their rehabilitation.

    Source: TH