Polavaram Dam: Corrupt interests at the expense of noble alternatives గురువారం, అక్టో 25 2012 

Observational Report on the Polavaram Dam Project and Surrounding Areas
– Drew Bahr
, HELP International Intern

During the summer of 2011 I had the opportunity to personally witness the proposed construction site of the Polavaram Dam as well as interview three engineers and environment experts with alternative proposals and view the conditions of the people in the proposed area of displacement that would be created by the Dam. During this three-day journey from Hyderabad to northern Andhra Pradesh and Orissa, I was surprised to find that many things are not as they were officially described by the government.

Our trip began with an effort to document the present existence of canals to provide irrigation for the surrounding countryside from the Godavari River to refute the claim that the Dam is necessary to provide irrigation for rice and other crops. Although government engineers seem to ignore their presence, we visited perfectly working canals and pumping stations from the river alongside new canals which were supposedly built to take water from the Godavari River to the Krishna River Basin. These larger canals, however, seem to have displaced an inordinate amount of farmers and did not provide means for their local use through pumps or other forms of access.

పోలవరం సంక్షోభం – టీ ఆర్ ఎస్ నీళ్ళు నిజాలు బుధవారం, అక్టో 26 2011 

పోలవరం సంక్షోభం ఎస్ ఈ డబ్ల్యూ కి పరిమతమైతే బానే ఉండేది. ఇది మరో గోదారి స్పెక్ట్రం కుంభకోణం లెక్క అవినీతి, ఆరోపణలు, విచారణలు. వాస్తవాలు తేలినతర్వాత దొరలెవరో దొంగలెవరో నల్గురు వార్తలు చదివి పుర్సత్తుగా మాట్లాడుకొంటరు.

కథ అక్కడ ఆగలేదు. కనుకనే చర్చ. విమర్శ. ఖండనలు. పోలవరం వివాదంలో ఎన్నెన్ని రాజకీయాలో. ప్రస్థుతానికి కొన్నింటిని తప్పనిసరిగా ఆలోచించాలి.

ప్రశ్న ఏంది? జలయగ్నం పేరుతో సాగిన బలియగ్నంలో వాటదారులైన కాంట్రాక్టరు (ఎస్ ఈ డబ్ల్యు) టీ ఆర్ ఎస్ కు బంధువెట్లాయె? నాలుగు పైసలకోసం ఓ క్రిమినల్ ప్రాజెక్టును కట్టి తూర్పు కనుమలను, కోయ జాతిని ఖూని చేసేందుకు ఉవ్వీల్లూరే కాంట్రక్టర్లు పోలవరం మీద యుద్దమే చేసే వాళ్ళకు మిత్రులెట్లాయె. నమస్కారం చేయడానికి ముఖ్యుడెట్లాయే (మరింత…)

To hell with world cup, celebrations, yagams, vacations సోమవారం, ఏప్రి 25 2011 

Opinion/Open Page, The Hindu April 24,2011

Our farmers are dying, to hell with the World Cup
Narendra Shekhawat

Yes, you read it right; to hell with the World Cup; to hell with the celebrations; to hell with all the free land and money being showered by different governments on the players. How can I jump, scream, have gallons of beer and cheer for the nation when a few kilometres away the farmers and feeders of my country are taking their own lives in hordes?

Do you know that, on average, 47 farmers have been committing suicide every single day in the past 16 years in our shining India — the next economic power, progressive with nine per cent growth? (మరింత…)

3rd party EIA for Polavaram Dam or same old joke ఆదివారం, మార్చి 20 2011 

Environment assessment is a joke, says Jairam; wants 3rd party EIA

Business Line, 19 March 2011

“The Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) in the current form is a bit of a joke as it is self-assessment by the company. Instead, we will have a third party EIA,” Mr Jairam Ramesh, Minister for Environment and Forests, said.

Speaking to reporters at the CII-Green Business Centre, Mr Ramesh said, “I have been concerned about this. Supreme Court also expressed its concerns. We want a cumulative EIA.” (మరింత…)

AP’s disastrous irrigation schemes slow down మంగళవారం, నవం 3 2009 

Jalayagnam comes to a virtual halt

NM Satheesh  Indian Express 3 Nov 2009

HYDERABAD: Jalayagnam, the favourite scheme of former chief minister the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy, seems to have slided down in the list of priorities of the present government.

Leave alone the progress of the programme at the field level, even a review of it by the government has become rare in the last two months.

According to sources in the irrigation department, funding of the programme has come to a halt and the pending bills are piling up with the government.

It seems that the government is not going to spend the allocated budget Rs 18,000 crore in this financial year. The government has not released even Rs 1,000 crore for the projects in the last two months. It was decided by the regime of Rajasekhara Reddy that the government should release about Rs 1,400 crore every month to keep the projects going.

According to officials, the government has already halted payment of Rs 4,000 crore which was spent by the contractors and the construction of projects like Pulichintala which has been completed to an extent of 70 per cent is not progressing as per the schedule.

Irrigation officials say that the time table fixed by the government for the completion of 82 major and medium irrigation projects under Jalayagnam will go awry.

The YSR government had contemplated Jalayagnam to bring about one crore acres of land under irrigation facility. Under the scheme 82 projects are to be constructed at a cost of Rs 1.50 lakh crore. (మరింత…)

Polavaram Dam- A Prescription for National Disaster శుక్రవారం, మార్చి 21 2008 

Polavaram Dam- A Prescription for the Most Shocking National Economic Disaster? 

– Prof T Shivaji Rao

A.P. state proposes to construct a few China-wall like embankments to protect several villages of Khammam District likely to be inundated due to floods due to construction of Polavaram dam. These structures will be 44 Km.long with a height of 189 feet, with a free board of 6 ft. above the level of 183.6 ft., the peak flood mark that touched during the 35 lakh cusecs flood of August 1986. The cost is estimated at Rs.307 crores. Such embankments failed to stop inundation of vast areas of the temple town of Bhadrachalam during the August 2006 floods of Godavari river. The Government insisted that polavaram Dam will be able to discharge a peak flood of 49 lakh cusecs .

But the AP State Government must realise that the Central Water Commission [CWC] has adopted a 1000-year return flood for spillway design for Sardar Sarovar project and 10,000-year return flood for the Tehri dam because Tehri dam failure is likely to cause the death of several lakhs of people in Rishikesh and Haridawar and other towns in gangetic belt in addition to large scale economic damages to crops and properties. The AP State Government stated that the 1986 kind floods occur once in 500 years while 49 lakh cusec floods occur once in 1000 years.

The basic mistake being committed by the AP state Government and the Central Government is their failure to consider that the probable maximum flood (PMF)  shall not only be based on hydrological and technological considerations but also on the socio-economic and environmental considerations including major catastrophic dam failure hazards as per the modern methods followed for the design of the dam and the spillway in almost all the major countries of the world. Since India is also member of the international committee on large dams [ICOLD] it is the duty of the Central Water Commission to revise the design flood of 50 lakhs cusecs [cubic feet per second] as recently calculated by it in October 2006 for the Polavaram project to atleast 75 lakhs cusecs. This view is on the basis of the inflow flood of 1,70,000 cumecs [cubic meters per second] equivalent to about 60 lakhs cusecs as adopted by the eminent hydrological experts of the National Institute of Hydrology [NIH], Roorkee who conducted the dam break analysis operations in June 1999. Dam break analysis was done at the specific request of the Andhra Pradesh state Government for the purpose of preparing disaster management, risk analysis and environmental management programmes as per the conditions stipulated under the regulations of the environmental impact assessment report prepared as per rules of the Environmental Protection Act 1986.

Moreover, the Central Water Commission[CWC] while estimating the 1000-year return period flood for spillway design of the Sardar Sarovar Project had concluded that for the catchment area of 88,000 sq. km of Narmada River, the maximum flood was estimated at 87,000 cumecs and this means that the peak flood estimate comes to about one cumec [cubic meter per second] per sq.km area. Since Godavari catchment area is having similar characteristics and is also adjacent to Narmada catchment in terms of meteorological and topographical features, the probable Maximum Flood [PMF] at Polavaram under similar conditions has to be estimated at about 2 lakhs cumecs which is equivalent to about 75 lakhs cusecs.

.Surprisingly, if the water storage in Polavaram is transformed into an additional incremental flood in case of a dam failure, the additional reservoir -based flood comes to about 70,000 cumecs that is equivalent to about 25 lakhs cusecs. Consequently, the inflow design flood for Polavaram project must be taken as 100 lakh cusecs which is the actual magnitude of flood estimated by the eminent hydrological experts of the National Institute of Hydrology [NIH] in their report on dam break analysis for Polavaram project submitted to the AP State Government as already stated above. In view of the anticipated deaths of lakhs of people in the Gangetic belt due to a hypothetical failure of Tehri Dam, CWC has considered areturn flood of 10,000 years period amounting to15,540 Cumecs from a catchment area of 7,550 sq.km. Since Polavaram Dam is located in a more hazardous site with many highly vulnerable towns and cities, CWC must follow the international guidelines for the design of this major project and should not plan to wipe out of existence 45 lakhs of people in Godavari delta by resorting to the underdesigning of the spillway of Polavaram by using a very low value of 50 lakhs cusecs of probable maximum flood. (మరింత…)

Polavaram Dam- Ecological Disaster బుధవారం, జన 23 2008 

Polavaram project in legal wrangle

The multi-crore Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh is currently embroiled in legal issues. But now, the project is being contested on technical issues as well. A study carried out by the International Water Management Institute (iwmi), an international non-profit research and development organization, has questioned the fundamental basis on which the project was designed.

It was designed on the estimation that since the Godavari river has surplus water, it will be transferred to the water-deficit Krishna basin.

 •  Polavaram factfile

The iwmi report has found that the Godavari does not have enough water to spare. A feasibility report by the National Water Development Agency (nwda) on the other hand says Godavari is water surplus. It calculated the surface water availability at Polavaram—the downstream-most dam on the Godavari (there are three dams)—to be 80,170 million cubic metres (mcm), considering 75 per cent assured flow (water available for 75 per cent of time in a year).

nwda officials calculated the figure using annual average rainfall data. iwmi calculated surface water availability to be 36,000 mcm using monthly data. After deducting all water allocations, as designed by nwda, there is a deficit of 37,199 mcm (see table: Godavari: Surplus or not?).

“The problem with the annual average is it does not consider variability of flow within a year, which is very high in monsoon-driven rivers,” says Vladimir Smakhtin, a hydrologist with iwmi, in his report. The catchment area gets around 70 per cent of rainfall just between June and September.

nwda officials disagree. “Estimates based on annual average and monthly average will certainly vary. Since rainfall is not uniform throughout the year, it is better to take annual average. Our methodology is used for all inter-basin water transfer and is peer reviewed and approved by technical experts,” says N K Bhandari, chief engineer with nwda.

Smakhtin says the nwda method of calculation also overlooks the allocation of water to keep the river ecosystem alive. The water used for such purposes is called environmental water, which is an equally important component of use, besides other uses such as irrigation, domestic and industrial projects. “The present planning of inter-basin water transfer is based on future irrigation requirement and ignores environmental water demand, which is important to maintain the ecology of the basin,” says Parikshit Gautam, director, Freshwater and Wetland Conservation Programme, wwf- India. iwmi estimates that 8,200 mcm of water flow is required to keep the river fit for fisheries and wildlife. This itself is a conservative figure as this flow cannot make the river fit for human consumption by checking human and industrial waste.


Perilious Mega Projects- Weak Regulatory Institutions శనివారం, జన 12 2008 

The environment`s back in business
Latha Jishnu / Business Standard, New Delhi January 12, 2008
Whether it is quashing the Polavaram dam’s clearance or the CEC asking Posco to get a composite clearance, rushing through environment approvals will no longer be as easy.
When the National Environmental Appellate Authority (NEAA) quashed the clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Polavaram, one of the most expensive multipurpose dam projects in the country, three weeks ago, it came as a stunning verdict.
It was the first time in its 10-year history that the NEAA is said to have overturned an environmental clearance given by MoEF, and it caught the Andhra Pradesh government, which is implementing the project, by surprise. For the environmentalists, it was an unexpected victory although it turned out to be a short-lived one. In an appeal to the AP High Court, the government managed to get a stay on the NEAA decision.
Polavaram, with a 150-foot high dam on the Godavari, is a gigantic undertaking. It envisages the diversion of 80,000 million cubic feet of its waters through a 174-km link canal to the Krishna in a project that promises seemingly huge benefits: irrigation for 291,000 hectares, drinking water to 2.5 million people in villages on the project’s route, apart from a substantial part for Visakhapatnam city, and a hydroelectric power station with a generating capacity of 960 MW. All of this is expected to cost over Rs 12,500 crore, up sharply from the initially estimated Rs 9,000 crore.
The bigger cost, however, is the displacement. The project straddles parts of Chhattisgarh and Orissa and around 200,000 — far higher than the 150,000 displaced by the controversial Sardar Sarovar Dam — would have to be resettled. The surprising part about the clearance for Polavaram is that the MoEF did so without holding the mandatory public hearings on the environmental impact assessment (EIA) report in either Chhattisgarh or Orissa, which are dead set against the project because they derive no benefits. (మరింత…)

Disastrous Polavaram Dam & Illegal Clearances- NEAA మంగళవారం, డిసెం 25 2007 

National Environment Appellate Authority has found ‘environmental clearance’ to Polavaram Dam given by Ministry of Environment & Forests unacceptable and improper. Environment clearance was granted in October 2005 to this controversial and disastrous dam in great haste under political pressure of YSR government. That clearance was a mockery, alleged by civil society and environment activists and adivasi groups, is proved by the NEAA declaring the ‘clearance’ unaccpetable  
Prof Sivaji Rao, environment expert, described it as a killer dam https://mbbhushan.wordpress.com/2007/09/25/save-andhra-pradesh-from-polavaram-prof-shivaji-rao/
Several NGOs and peoples organisations resisted the dam since mid eighties on ecological, economic and social grounds. 
YSR government started implementing the project with manifold cost escalations, hundred design deviations and thousand lies without a single clearance from any authority as part of the contractors’ raj and its pet scheme – Jala Yagnam in Andhra Pradesh
Jalayagnam plans to irrigate one crore acres at a cost of one lakh rupees per acre! and all that before the next elections!! just one  lakh crores to go down the drain in a record time!!!
this is yet another judgement against YSR government’s illegal projects
report on the issue from lliveMint.com the wall street journal
bharath bhushan

Two years on, project caught in green knots

National Environment Appellate Authority says nod for the Polavaram dam given without adequate hearing to people who may be hit
Padmaparna Ghosh

New Delhi: In a setback to the Andhra Pradesh government, the environmental go-ahead for a large multi-purpose dam has been set aside, two years after work had begun on the project.

The Polavaram dam, also known as the Indira Sagar project, is located in the northern part of the state and would straddle portions of the adjoining states of Chhattisgarh and Orissa.
In its order issued on Monday, the National Environment Appellate Authority, the statutory body that is empowered to hear appeals challenging environmental clearances, maintained that the clearance given by the Union environment ministry was done without giving an adequate hearing to all the people likely to be displaced, the largest in any similar project in the country. The order was passed by a bench comprising J.C Kala, I.V. Manivannan and Kaushlendra Prasad.
“Conceived in 1982, the project languished until it was taken up in earnest in 2002 by the Telugu Desam-led state government”

Under the Environment Protection Act, 1986, all major projects, in sectors such as hydroelectric, mega power and mining, have to get an environmental clearance, which is based on an environmental impact assessment. (మరింత…)

Polavaram dam is threat to wildlife గురువారం, అక్టో 4 2007 

Another Golden Gecko ‘discovered’


K. Venkateshwarlu

HYDERABAD: In what could be termed as gold rush of sorts, another Golden Gecko, the “severely endangered lizard” has been found in the State this time in the equally threatened Papikonda hills of the northern Eastern Ghats abutting Godavari river.

“It was discovered by a team of World Wide Fund for Nature- India during one of its nature camps at the Papikonda hills ”, said Farida Tampal, director of WWF- India, Andhra Pradesh Chapter. The primitive living lizard protected by the Schedule I Part II of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972 was sighted a few months ago but not highlighted till it was published in a research journal recently.

For wildlife enthusiasts it is big news coming as it were close on the heels of its sighting in Seshachalam hill ranges by young researcher, M. Rajasekhar of Sri Venkateswara University. Its sighting in northern Eastern Ghats is significant as it was earlier thought to be endemic to Seshachalam hill ranges in the south, the WWF team said.

However, this endemic and range restricted species is now facing an imminent threat from the construction of the Indira Sagar Project (Polavaram project) which threatens to inundate the hills.


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