Seventy years have passed since the first proposal to make a dam on the Godavari in Andhra Pradesh was conceived. In all these years it has developed more controversies and conflicts. The project is still a matter of several litigations.
The Andhra Pradesh government is making valiant efforts to progress on the dam. It played a huge trick in 2005 by convincing the world that the dam and the water carrying canals were indeed different projects. Thus it found a way to invest in the canals, which receive much less attention in our environmental governance regime. Contractors were generously given advances to initiate work on different segments and the anal works have moved significantly ahead, despite several segments yet to be initiated.
The irony of the project is that while the state captures its due in the share of Godavari waters, it will hardly improve the conditions of the farmers who are slated to receive this water. Already this year, the command region which has nearly 70% irrigation had farmers agitating that the agriculture was not remunerative and to register their protest have gone on a “crop‐holiday”. The impacts of the project as it is currently being designed would be colossal. Nearly 350 habitations would be lost forever, over 4000 ha of forests will be lost, habitats of several species including some endangered will be gone forever. This project indicates how despite its legal acceptance, “Precautionary Principles” have been sacrificed and the initial stages of implementation indicate that the “Polluter Pays Principle” is also being violated, with poor and inadequate arrangements for resettlement and open oppression against those who are “whistle blowers”.