General Studies Paper 3

Context: Recent Rehabilitation efforts have caused significant cultural Trauma for the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups in the region.


  • Polavaram is a National multi-purpose irrigation project on the Godavari River in Andhra Pradesh.
  • It will facilitate an inter-basin water transfer from the Godavari River to the Krishna River through its Right canal.
  • Its reservoir spreads in parts of Chhattisgarh and Orissa States also.
  • The project is a multipurpose major terminal reservoir project for the development of Irrigation, Hydropower and drinking water facilities.
  • The project was started in 2008, accorded national status in 2014 in the Andhra Pradesh Bifurcation Act.
  • Although The Andhra Pradesh government extended the completion date to the 2022 Kharif season, work is still pending on the project.

The necessity of the project 

  • Creation of Irrigation potential : Domestic & Industrial Water supply to the cities, towns & villages en route and Steel Plant and other industries in the vicinity.
  • Utilisation of Hydroelectric Power.: Development of Pisciculture, Navigation for Mineral & Forest produce and urbanisation besides tourism with new picnic spots.
  • Flood Control:The floods in the Godavari are causing damage to standing crops and loss of property and cattle-worth several crores in the plains, with the help of the Polavaram Irrigation Project flow of the river can be regulated.
  • Navigation:The Polavaram Project facilitates cheap and quick transport of forest produce and food grains to the marketing centres


  • Rehabilitation:It can affect the social, cultural and economic structure of the region considerably. Especially forcing people, whose settlement areas and lands remain underwater to migrate, affect their psychology negatively.
    • It could result in the submergence of a considerable amount of its territory, including protected tribal areas.
    • Many PVTG’s like Konda Reddis have their life intertwined with the river. Rehabilitation of such groups far away from the river causes unbearable harm to their Tribal culture.
  • Destruction of Habitat:The water regime may change as a result of the destruction of nature, unexpected floods may occur and consequently vegetation and natural structures in the riverbanks can be damaged.
  • Affects Fauna: Normal passingways of territorial animals can be hindered.


Way Forward:

  • The implementing authorities should take into consideration the cultural dependence of the tribal people on the river while considering their rehabilitation.
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