New Delhi: Government on Wednesday said that 276 villages in Andhra Pradesh, four villages in Chhattisagarh and eight villages in Odisha are likely to be submerged due to Polavaram dam project.

“276 villages in Andhra Pradesh, four villages in Chhattisgarh and eight villages in Odisha are likely to be submerged. An area of 3427.52 hectares of forest land only in Andhra Pradesh is projected to be inundated," environment minister Prakash Javadekar told Lok Sabha in a written reply.

He was replying to a question whether the government has conducted environmental impact assessment of Polavaram dam project and the villages and forest land which are likely to be submerged and destroyed by it.

He said the environment impact assessment (EIA) study which is mandatory for environmental clearance was conducted in accordance with Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 1994, and accordingly an environment management plan (EMP) was prepared to mitigate impact on catchment area, biodiversity, aquatic life, health and project affected persons among other aspects.

He said the environmental clearance (EC) to the Polavaram multipurpose project was accorded on 25 October, 2005 in accordance to the EIA Notification 1994. Replying to another question, he said EC cases are dealt with as per procedure prescribed by EIA Notification 2006.

This notification has been amended from time to time based on experience gained and with a view to further rationalising the process. He said recently a notification dated 25 June, 2014 has been issued, amending the EIA notification 2006 thereby delegating more powers to state level environment impact assessment authorities (SEIAAs) for granting EC and further streamlining the process.

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