BJD’s Drama on Polavaram Is a Drama of Political Hypocrisy

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

BJD, the party of sycophants that a boss heads in the guise of democracy and acts against interest of indigenous Oriyas to help non-Oriya firms – even foreigners – establish and expand their empires on the soil of Orissa, has staged a political farce of opposing Polavaram Dam under construction by Andhra Pradesh government with the help of the Center. This is more damaging to Orissa than the damage the dam is supposed to inflict; because, the BJD drama is a drama of political hypocrisy, which is at the root of all the debacles the state is suffering from.

From the start, the Polavatam project is under dispute. This is why as far back as in April 1969 a Tribunal styled Godavari Water Dispute Tribunal was constituted to resolve the disputes amongst the States – Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra and Karnataka. In 1978 when Biju Patnaik, father of Orissa’s incumbent Chief Minister was Union Minister with his protégé Nilamani Rautray planted by him in the CM’s chair in the State, Orissa signed a bilateral agreement with Andhra fixing the dam height at +150 ft. It also agreed to pay compensation against submerged land to displaced people of Orissa at the prevailing norm. This agreement was clandestinely signed inasmuch as its text was never placed before the people of Orissa or their representatives in the Assembly for discussion and adoption. Biju was then basking in the light of national power and was eager to show to the Janata conglomerate that he can do and undo whatever he liked in Orissa without any consultation with the people and sans any objection from their side. So, the agreement supporting Polavaram was signed under Biju’s instruction without bothering about how it would disadvantage the people.

When a Detailed Project Report (DPR) on Polavaram was submitted to Central Water Commission (CWC) in 1987, Biju was the Leader of Opposition in Orissa Assembly. He never opposed the DPR. The same DPR was updated and resubmitted to CWC in 2000 when Biju’s Son Naveen was the CM. He never opposed to the new version of the DPR even though that was beyond the bilateral agreement with Andhra. The “in principle consent”, given by CWC to the project on August 29, 2005 was formulated when BJD’s Arjun Sethi was the central minister of Water Resources and Naveen was reigning over Orissa. As the general public and the segment of the pro-people Press of Orissa came down heavily upon the State government for its nefarious negligence to the danger posed by Polavaram to people of Orissa, after lapse of two precious years, Naveen Patnaik adopted a hoodwinking tactics and caused a case in the Supreme Court against the AP centric project that he now uses to save his own skin.

History of negligence to Orissa’s interest in the context of Polavaram spreads from Biju to Navin as discussed above. The drama BJD has staged in Malkangiri on September 12 is nothing but an attempt to bury the sordid mischief both Biju and Navin have played against Orissa under a new wave of State sponsored anarchy aimed at diverting public attention from their blatant negligence to the interest of the Oriyas.

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