Bhubaneswar: Terming the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre as anti-tribal, the BJD on Friday came down heavily on Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram for his statement in Parliament on Thursday that no tribal from Odisha would be affected by the Polavaram project.
Accusing the Centre as well as Oram of misleading the Rajya Sabha as well as the people off Odisha, the BJD sought an apology from him and said that it will intensify its fight against the controversial project till the state’s demands are met.
In his reply to the Upper House of Parliament Oram had said that no tribal family from Orissa will be affected by the Polavaram project if the government of Andhra Pradesh constructs an embankment to check the flow of water into its border areas.
The Union Minister had stated that 17,444 tribal people of north AP will be displaced. But, the project will not cause harm to anyone from Orissa and Chhattisgarh. However, taking strong exception to Oram’s statement, BJD general secretary Sanjay Das Burma said that Oram’s remark exposes how the Centre is helping the AP government undermining the interests of Odisha.
A total of 6,818 persons, including 5,916 tribals, will be displaced as 25 habitations with 15 revenue villages and 10 hamlets will be submerged and 7,656 hectares will be flooded due to the Polavaram project,” Das Burma said, adding, “The statement of the Union minister is nothing but a betrayal of the state, especially the tribals affected by the project in Malkangiri district.”
“The Motu area of Malkangiri will be severely affected by such projects. However, the Union minister seems to have turned a blind eye to this issue,” said state tribal welfare minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi describing Majhi’s statement as a ‘blatant lie’.
The BJP state unit, however, hit back at BJD leaders. Spokesperson Sajjan Sharma alleged that in its 18 years of ruling the BJD government couldn’t ascertain the loss Odisha would suffer due to the project.