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Fw: Why Polavaram is a pointless project -- my comments for publication; cont. May 15, 2011 Down To Earth cover story

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  • Jeevananda Reddy
    ... From: Jeevananda Reddy Subject: Why Polavaram is a pointless project -- my comments for publication; cont. May 15, 2011 Down To
    Message 1 of 1 , May 13, 2011
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      --- On Fri, 5/13/11, Jeevananda Reddy <jeevanandareddy@...> wrote:

      From: Jeevananda Reddy <jeevanandareddy@...>
      Subject: Why Polavaram is a pointless project -- my comments for publication; cont. May 15, 2011 Down To Earth cover story
      To: editor@...
      Date: Friday, May 13, 2011, 9:54 AM

      Comments/observations on “reply to my comments” on cover story published in Down To Earth May 15, 2011 with a title “Polavaram fraud” by Richard Mahapatra titled “Why Polavaram is a pointless project”


      By Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

      Formerly Chief Technical Advisor – WMO/UN & Expert – FAO/UN

      Convenor, Forum for a Sustainable Environment


      “It is not the Polavaram pointless project but it is the Down To Earth”

      The authors state that the Polavaram dam involves a huge cost but its benefits will be limited.  The reality is in India the Polavaram project is the only project that is cost effective over any other project built so far.  While analyzing the cost effectiveness of a project like a multipurpose Polavaram project all components must be taken in to account. For example when we making EIA assessment we must not confine to primary impacts but must take in to account direct & indirect secondary and tertiary impacts – cumulative & interactive impacts.  It is clear from the main article that they didn’t do this and made statements from the air. 

      All those persons the authors referred in their write ups are either from anti-dam groups or from anti-polavaram dam groups.  Before publishing such an article of this nature, they should have got clarifications or comments of the group on the other side to get credibility to a magazine like Down To Earth.  Reality is that the authors did not make any attempt in this direction.  That means the purpose of the article is to create hurdles to Polavaram project only.  Now they added some more half baked headings. Let us see heading by heading:

      400,000 may be displaced

      Two days back the Supreme Court observations on the counting of displaced families are relevant here.  In any project while counting the displaced at the time of paying R & R packages, the R & R package takes in to account the increase in population with the time.  But, this will not take in to account the new families created for the purpose of R & R package or new families brought in by vested groups for getting R & R package etc.   The authors are advised to look in to such issues before pronouncing the judgments on population figures based on a vested interest groups surveys.

      Who will fund Polavaram dam?

      It is the government’s prerogative to complete the project. Is it relevant to you Sir to poke your nose on the financial issue?

      More water for irrigated areas

      This type of propaganda was countered by the government at several forums. Silting will be a problem with each and every project, whether it is small or medium or big; but the way Polavaram dam is going to be built has a minimal effect of silting, see the project details.

      Design plays down flood threat

      First of all the project was never been a barrage.   The technical committee analyzed for extreme value and found 38 lakh cusecs as the expected extreme flood level in 1000 years [36.2 for 500 years].  After 2009 Krishna floods – man made – CWC suggested a figure of 50 lakh cusecs for the building of dam without changing the height – only gates that allow outflow will be increased without increasing the flood area or displaced/submerged.  Because of this the cost of the project has gone up.  As suggested by Western analysts 92 lakh cusecs possibility, if it really occurs then whether there is a dam or not the villages in the catchment area as well villages in the downstream will be washed away. It is an imaginative projection to create hurdles to the project.  If the authors believed them then wait for dooms day.

      Unsafe embankments

      Please look in to the appropriate documents submitted by AP government and the CWC clearance report on Embankments without making statements from the air.

      Polavaram Dam Divides Politicians

      For that matter any project in India divides politicians based on their vested interests leave alone Polavaram.  Politicians are always there to oppose any project proposed by ruling party but when they come back to power the issue reverses.   In the case of Polavaram project, some have illegal mining interests; some others have smuggling of forest wealth or ganja cultivation interests; some others have vote bank interests, etc.  These are normal issues. Unfortunately the people who are enjoying the fruits of other projects like Srisailem, Nagarjunasagar never thought of displaced people from those projects. 

      The authors state the project does not benefit the Telangana region any way – this is an ignorant way of writing articles without looking into the project document in its totality.  The authors also state that “Telangana has 50% of the State’s potential cultivable area, but only 32% of the irrigation potential created in Andhra Pradesh is in Telangana”.  It is a foolish statement.  Before making such parochial statements they should have verified from the records. See the table given below:

      Data of 2007-08 in lakh hectares

      Zone  Area in lakh hectares       

      Geographical           Net sown                  Net irrigated             Gross irrigated

      AP       275.05                        107.56                        44.54                          60.71

      Tel       114.84 (41.7%)         40.57 (37.7%)           17.08 (38.3%)           24.14 (39.8%)

      Ray     067.30 (24.5%)         27.65 (25.7%)           05.66 (12.7%)           06.85 (11.3%)

      CA      092.91 (33.8%)         39.34 (36.6%)           21.80 (48.9%)           29.72 (48.9%)

      AP = Andhra Pradesh; Tel = Telangana; Ray = Rayalaseema; CA = Coastal Andhra

      From this table it is clear that the authors have tried to manipulate the data to show regional feeling.   Krishna water was fully utilized as allocated but it is not the case with Godavari water even with P. V. Narasimha Rao the only Prime Minister from South India for a full five year term hailing from Telangana zone did little in the utilization of Godavari water. Only after Dr. Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy became the Chief Minister in 2004 initiated the projects on Godavari River under the Jalayagnam.  Vested groups started creating hurdles at every stage. It is a political game as once these projects are completed the people rarely care for politicians as they will be economically stable. Pranahita-Chevella project is yet to get several clearances from the central government before going for national status.  The anti-polavaram groups are hatching a plan by saying first national status should be given to Pranahita-Chevella before Polavaram which has already got all clearances from the central government.  Why no politician has tried for this project before Dr. YSR? 

      Dr. S. Jeevananda Reddy

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