Polavaram Project

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    • Recently, the Andhra Pradesh government sought reimbursement of Rs 2,033 crore from the Centre for work completed at the Polavaram project, which is at a crucial stage of construction. 
    • Officials said bills have been pending for six months.
      • The bills have to be approved by Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) and Central Water Commission (CWC) before the Union Ministry of Finance (MoF) gives its clearance for payment. 

    Rationale behind the move 

    • The reimbursement from the Centre is needed to take up land acquisition, Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R), and complete other project-associated work like irrigation canals.
    • The Centre has so far reimbursed Rs 11,181.36 crore to the Andhra Pradesh government for the Polavaram project, including expenditure towards land acquisition and Relief and Rehabilitation (R&R), after according it the status of a ‘National Project’ from April 2014.

    About Polavaram Project

    • It is an under-construction multi-purpose irrigation National 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.
    • The Andhra Pradesh government extended the completion date to the 2022 Kharif season.

    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, in view of the formation of the foreshore lake and the Left Canal designed for Navigation, facilitates cheap and quick transport of forest produce and food grains to the marketing centres and various ores and coal to the Industries.

    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. 
    • Destruction of Nature: 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 steps need to be taken to fulfil environmental compliances and proper environmental impact assessment.
    • The funds need to be released on time for the completion of the project.
    • At the same time, the tenets of Cooperative federalism need to be preserved by preventing the possibility of any inter-state disputes.

    The Godavari River

    • The Godavari is the largest Peninsular river system. It is also called the Dakshin Ganga. 
    • It rises in the Nasik district of Maharashtra and discharges its water into the Bay of Bengal. 
    • The Godavari basin extends over states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Karnataka, Puducherry.
    • The Pravara, Manjira and Maner are right bank tributaries and the Purna, Pranhita, Indravathi and Sabari are important left-bank tributaries.

    Source:IE