"The central environment ministry gave Andhra Pradesh the final clearance for diversion of 3,731.07 hectares of forest land four years ago for the project, despite protests from Odisha."
Bhubaneswar, May 4 - Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sunday hit out at BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi and Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi for backing the Polavaram irrigation project in neighbouring Andhra Pradesh.

It - shows quite clearly the negative attitude of both Modi and Rahul Gandhi to the interest of Odisha, Patnaik told reporters here.

Reiterating his commitment to protect the interests of his state, Patnaik said his government would ensure that people of Odisha were not affected.

He also said the state government has already moved the Supreme Court opposing the height of the dam.

Patnaik's reaction comes three days after the union cabinet gave its nod to a proposal to set up an authority to speed up the environment and investment clearances for the project.

Similarly, Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Modi promised to accord national status to the project if voted to power.

Addressing election rallies in Andhra Pradesh May 1, Modi said he would take steps to complete the project as early as possible.

Odisha has been opposing the project, claiming that a large number of villages in its Malkangiri district would be affected.

The central environment ministry gave Andhra Pradesh the final clearance for diversion of 3,731.07 hectares of forest land four years ago for the project, despite protests from Odisha.

The central authority had said they cleared it on the condition that no submergence of forest land would take place in both the states. Odisha has petitioned the Supreme Court against it.


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