After Kanhar dam in north Chhattisgarh, the state politics is now galvanized around another under-construction dam on its southern tip.
Polavaram dam, declared a national project, is being constructed by the TDP government of Andhra Pradesh on the confluence of West Godavari and East Godavari districts. It is likely to submerge many villages of Konta block of Sukma district in south Bastar.
Alleging that the BJP government has ignored the plight of villagers, PCC Chief Bhupesh Baghel and Leader of Opposition TS Sinhadev today left for Delhi where they will submit a status report on the land situation in Chhattisgarh to party vice president Rahul Gandhi.
“This dam affects the rights of villagers of Chhattisgarh. Eighteen villages of Konta block will be submerged but the BJP government has not shown any concern,” he said.
His meeting with Gandhi is in the context of the Congress protests against the BJP’s recent amendments in the land acquisition law.
The protests against the Polavaram dam had seen another controversy last week, when Congress MLAs from Bastar had sought permission from the police to protest in the Maoist-hit Konta area. The Bastar police had denied saying it could not provide them protection and had advised the Congress against holding the dharna.
The MLAs, led by Konta MLA Kawasi Lakhma, had then entered into Orissa and then crossed the Shabri river by boat to reach the protest spot in Konta. “They do not care about our rights. They don’t even want us to take up the issue,” Lakhma said.
The Raman Singh government had earlier filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Polavaram project but the Sukma administration is yet to take note of the situation.
“The state government has undertaken a formality of opposing the project, but has not taken any concrete step to protect villagers. This dam will submerge villages along the national highway, damage forest cover and animal population. But the government is not concerned,” Congress spokesperson SN Trivedi said.
Last week, Singh had written to the UP government demanding immediate suspension of work at the Kanhar dam in north Chhattisgarh that is likely to submerge over 25 villages of the state.