[River Disputes] Polavaram Project Ordinance: Purpose, Benefits, Criticism Andhra Pradesh vs Telangana

In polity by Mrunal

  1. Polavaram Project: Objectives
  2. Polavaram Project Authority (PPA)
  3. Polavaram Ordinance
  4. Anti-ordinance arguments

Polavaram Project: Objectives

Official name: Indira Sagar Multipurpose project
What are the objectives of this project?

  1. To interlink Godavari (Polavaram) & Krishna (Vijaywada) just before they merge into sea. (observe map)
  2. To Store water at Polavaram dam in West Godavari district.
  3. To Irrigate ~3 lakh hectre agricultural land.
  4. To generate 950+ MW hydro-electricity
  5. To Supply Water to Visakhapatanam & Vizag steel plant.

Map Polavaram Project Andhrapradesh

Timeline of Polavaram Project

  • 1941: idea came.
  • 2004: Andhra CM YSR Reddy revives the demand for Polavaram Project
  • 2009: Andhra government requests the Union government to start this project.
  • Union declares it a national project & puts it under Ministry of Water resource.
  • Odisha & Chhatisgarh don’t like this. NOT ONE BIT. They got Supreme Court.
Party Why objection to Polavaram DAM?
ODISHA
  • Height of this dam should be low.
  • else, our Malkangiri forest area will be submerged in water.  (~650 ht.)
  • How? Because Godavari is fed from Sabari and Sileru rivers in Odisha.
CHHATTISGARH Dam will submerge villages along Sabari river. (~800 ht.)
TELANGANA Dam will submerge villages of Khammam district.Polvaram project won’t give any water to us.
EIA Environmental impact assessment (EIA) says >250 villages and >1.5 lakh villagers will be affected.

Case pending in SC, Taarikh pe taarikh. ok then why in news?

Polavaram Project Authority (PPA)

  1. May 1, 2014, Cabinet cleared proposal to setup Polavaram Project Authority (PPA) – for solving objection by other states and arranging investment for this project.
    1. CEO (IAS), Government of India will appoint
    2. Chief Secretary of Andhra & Telangana will be nominated members. [Later Andhra CM requested Modi to remove Telangana chief Secretary from this body, because entire project area now falls under Andhra only.]
    3. +Chief engineers from water, power Department
  2. Union is empowered to create such bodies under Interstate River Water Disputes Act, 1956. But it is not a “Statutory body” until parliament approves.

Polavaram Ordinance: Salient Features

  • May 29, 2014: President promulgated an ordinance, to amend the Andhra Pradesh reorganization act.
  • This alters boundaries between Andhra & Telangana. thus transfers ~250 villages from Khammam district of Telangana to Andhra Pradesh
  • To help building Polavaram project. (these villages will get submerged)
  • Telangana is opposed to this ordinance.
  • Andhra state assembly passed a resolution, asking Union to create a new law on Polavaram project. (To replace that ordinance).

Arguments against Ordinance

  1. As per Supreme Court’s interpretation of Art.123, ordinance can be issued only in extraordinary situation. Polavaram is not extraordinary, government could put this matter in parliament after a week. (When President was making joint address to both houses).
  2. President cannot promulgate ordinance to amend Constitution. Only parliament can do so. On the same logic, Article 3 says “parliament, by law, can form a new state or alter boundries.” Hence this matter was outside President’s ordinance power.
  3. Even for the sake of arguments, let’s believe President has ordinance powers to change boundary. But even then he did not obtain the opinion of state legislative assemblies before doing signing this ordinance.
  4. This sets a wrong precedence, next time ruling government may alter bounders in the states were it sits in opposition, citing Polavaram case study.

Pro-ordinance arguments

  1. This is not a Constitutional amendment.
  2. Every-time fresh reference is not necessary to seek opinion of the concerned state legislative assemblies.

Mock Questions

Q. Which of the following state governments are officially opposed to Polavaram Project?

  1. Telangana
  2. Odisha
  3. Tamilnadu
  4. Maharahstra
  5. Chhatisgarh
  6. Jharkhand

Correct choices

  1. only 1, 2 and 5
  2. only 1,3 and 4
  3. only 1, 4 and 5
  4. all of them

Q. Correct statements about Polavaram Project

  1. official name is Rajiv Sagar project
  2. Will build a dam in Khammam district, in Telengana.
  3. This dam will interlink Godavari, Krishna and the Pennar river.
  4. None of above

Q. In May 2014, President of India promulgated an ordinance related to Polavaram project. What was its purpose?

  1. Specifying the water and electricity sharing formula among the stakeholder states
  2. for Constitution of Polavaram Project Authority.
  3. Transferring villages from Andhra to Telangana.
  4. Transferring villages from Telangana to Andhra.
  • (Descriptive Question) List the Constitutional provisions of ordinance powers of the president. Narrate recent cases where it has been used. (200 words)

interview Questions:

  1. What is Polvaram project? Why is it in controversy? should  it be scrapped off?
  2. What is Polavaram ordinance? Why are critiques arguing that President’s ordinance power has been misused in this case?