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Ponnala refutes Patkar's charges on eco clearance for Polavaram

Special Correspondent

Congress secures clearance for seven projects: Minister

HYDERABAD: Major Irrigation Minister Ponnala Laxmaiah has refuted the charges levelled by Narmada Bachao Andolan leader Medha Patkar that Chief Minister Y. S. Rajashekara Reddy has issued misleading statement on environmental clearance for Polavaram (Indirasagar) project.

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Mr. Laxmaiah and Government Whip D. Sridhar Babu said nowhere was it mentioned that forest clearance was also accorded and "we are in the process of securing it."

The Minister said there was no truth in the charge that the Government had pressurised the Centre to accord environmental clearance.

It was the Congress Government, which sincerely secured environmental clearance for as many as seven projects, three of which were located in the Telangana region.

On the demand by the CPI (M) to reduce the height of the project, he said the Government would take any decision keeping in view the people's interests. On the submergence, he said the new relief and rehabilitation package would be effectively implemented.

The Minister lashed out at the TDP for its charge that the Telangana irrigation projects were being neglected. He gave out statistics to prove that all the irrigation projects under construction in Telangana had been given more funds than what the previous TDP Government had spent in the last one decade.

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