BJD to step up protest against Polavaram project

Bhubaneswar: The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha on Sunday announced i would step up opposition to the multi-purpose Polavaram irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh. The BJD said it would stage a demonstration in front of Raj Bhavan here on September 14 as part of its action plan to protest the project, which has been accorded a national project status. "The party would submit a memorandum to Governor S.C. Jamir, addressed to the President of India. The party would seek his intervention to stall the project till the matter is resolved in the court," said BJD Vice-President Surya Narayan Patro. The ruling party would also stage demonstrations in front of the collector's office on September 20 in seven southern Odisha districts of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Ganjam, Kandhamal, and Gajapati. "Even though the matter is pending in the Supreme Court, the Centre has declared it as a national project and announced it would bear all expenses for it. This is unfortunate. The project would submerge some parts in Malkangiri district," said Patro. The BJD threatened to organise hartal shutdowon) in the districts on October 1 if the Centre does not intervene in the matter by September 20. "If the central government does not take any steps to protect the interest of Odisha, we would resort to hartal in the seven districts on October 1," Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD) President Sanjay Das Burma said. Reacting to the ruling party's move, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma said the protest call by the BJD is politically motivated. He said it is a political gimmick of the ruling party keeping an eye on Panchayat elections next year, he said. The multipurpose irrigation project over Godavari river in Andhra Pradesh is opposed by the Odisha government as it fears that around 15 revenue villages in Malkangiri district will be inundated by the backwaters the proposed dam.