The Narendra Modi government’s ‘surprising’ move to take the ordinance route on the Polavaram project due to which seven mandals and 270 hamlets of Telangana will be merged into Seemandhra has irked the Telangana Rashtra Samithi, which is observing a bandh today in protest. Vicky Nanjappa in an exclusive conversation with TRS leader K T Rama Rao.
The manner in which Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Cabinet have decided to take the ordinance route on the Polavaram project is undemocratic, says K T Rama Rao of the Telangana Rastriya Samithi.
The TRS has called for a Telangana bandh on Thursday to protest the decision of the Union government which has allowed Telangana's seven mandals and around 270 hamlets to become part of Seemandhra after as part of the Polavaram project.
Rao told Rediff.com that this decision has been taken in the most undemocratic fashion.
“We were in fact surprised that Modi, who all through his campaign spoke about state and Centre participation and also said that taking the ordinance route is wrong, has gone ahead with such a decision. In his very first Cabinet meet he took this decision on Polavaram. What has he done?” Rao says.
“Contrary to what he has maintained, he has taken the ordinance route and did not think it was important to consult with the Telangana government in-waiting. No one from the TRS was consulted and it appears this happened due to Bharatiya Janata Party’s alliance with (Telugu Desam Party chief) Chandrababu Naidu. We strongly believe that it is Naidu who used the alliance card to make this happen,” Rao charges.
The issue began during the final days of the United Progressive Alliance government. A bill had been passed stating that seven mandals and around 270 hamlets will be merged into Seemandhra. These mandals and villages would be affected by the Polavaram project as a result of which they would be submerged and become part of Seemandhra -- was the stated argument.
“This was a proposal suggested by the Andhra leaders who are in a teething hurry to go ahead with the Polavaram project. During the final days of the UPA government we had opposed this bill tooth and nail and they decided not to go ahead with it. However, now the Modi government has decided to go ahead with this and we will lodge our strongest protest against this”, the son of TRS chief K Chandrashekar Rao points out.
“We do not oppose the project. We are just saying, change the current form so as to minimalise the number of hamlets that would be submerged. We want the design of the Polavaram to be redrawn. I must point out that the engineers from Andhra had proposed a series of barrages which will reduce the submergence. However, it has not been considered. It is only fair for us to lodge a severe protest against the Union government which did not bother to consult the leaders of the state while trying to change the geography of the state,” he says.
Rao says that a bandh will be observed on Thursday, “and we will then wait and see what happens. Once the (Telangana) government is in place on June 2, we shall take this matter up to the Supreme Court”. Given the TRS's clout in Telangana -- it won 63 assembly and 11 Lok Sabha seats in the recent elections -- the bandh is expected to be a success.