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Rediff News  All News  » News » More trouble for Cong: 20 AP MPs may quit over Polavaram hurdle

More trouble for Cong: 20 AP MPs may quit over Polavaram hurdle

Last updated on: November 11, 2010 13:36 IST
More tension awaits the Congress party just before the winter session of Parliament, this time in Andhra Pradesh.
Twenty Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh have offered to resign in protest against the Centre not declaring the massive Polavaram dam project a national project.

This letter will be submitted to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday.

The final decision will be taken at a dinner on Wednesday hosted by Congress MPs K S Rao and Lagdapati Rajagopal in Delhi.

The MPs say they are 'provoked' by Union Forests and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh's letter to the Andhra Pradesh government issuing a show cause notice on the Polavaram project.

These MPs claim that Ramesh is a MP from Andhra Pradesh, 'then how can he issue a show cause to AP on Polavaram?'

The AP MPs question, "Is Jairam Ramesh's action just to satisfy the Orissa and Chhattisgarh Congress party? Better we all quit and let the state lose its claim on the Polavaram project."

K S Rao is the coordinator for 'Operation Polaravam resignation' while L Rajagopal is the key person coordinating this operation.

The notice issued by the Union ministry of environment and forests last week to the Andhra Pradesh government to put on hold the Polaravam project will help the Opposition-ruled states of Orissa and Chhattisgarh whose land may be submerged if the project goes through.

The ministry's notice asks the state government to reply 'within 7, 10 days' why it should not stop the project for continuing it without getting the environment clearance and not holding the public hearings even after 18 months of notice issued on March 9, 2009.

Since the project may result in land submergence in Orissa and Chhattisgarh, the ministry had directed the Andhra Pradesh government to undertake public hearing in the two states in its March 2009 letter.

The Central Water Commission had cleared the project with the condition that it should provide for construction of bunds and embankments on the rivers Saberi and Sileru to avoid submergence.

Since this aspect was not considered at the time of granting the environment clearance to the project, the Expert Appraisal Committee of the ministry asked the state government to undertake the public hearing through its letter of March 9, 2009. A reminder was sent on June 24, 2009, but that too was ignored.

Meanwhile, to give moral support to the protesting MPs, Bollywood actress turned politician Jaya Prada, presently the Samajwadi Party MP from Rampur, who is also from Andhra Pradesh, is likely to participate in the protests.

She conveyed her intentions to K S Rao and L Rajagopal in Parliament on Tuesday.

The initiative of en masse resignation was taken at an informal meeting of the Congress MPs on Monday over a lunch.

Congress MPs from Andhra Pradesh shall meet at dinner on Wednesday at K S Rao's home to formulate a future strategy.

A Correspondent in New Delhi