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Make all records of stalled Polavaram project public: CIC to Environment Ministry

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Environment Ministry was recently advised by the Central Information Commission to disclose all the reports related to Rs 16,000-crore stalled Polavaram dam project on its website after explaining to an RTI applicant that tracing all the documents of last ten decades will be very intricate.

The RTI applicant named, Suresh Kumar, an environment scientist, asked the ministry to reveal all the relevant documents relating to the impact assessment of the controversial project in Andhra Pradesh but was later advised that it will be very difficult to locate all the documents.

According to Kumar, the website has breached Section 4 (1)(b) of the RTI Act as it doesn’t have any information about the abandoned project that led him to file an RTI.

A Ministry official in defense, claimed that all the allegations were false, since most of the information was available on the website.  The official however, said that some documents were still awaiting digitization and that they would be posted on the website soon.

“The delay was the result of external pressures such as other projects, court cases before the Supreme Court, National Green Tribunal, and High Court besides Parliament related works”, he said.

Information Commissioner Sridhar Acharyulu said, “The Commission agreed with the contentions of the appellant that the ‘failure to trace records’ would not exempt the public authority from their duty to provide the information sought.”

“The Commission also directs the PIO to furnish copies of environmental clearance given at the first instance, and also file notings, correspondences along with minutes of meetings when the issue of environmental clearance was revisited for Indira Sagar Polavaram project in West Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh,” Acharyulu said.

Therefore, the Information Commissioner directed the Ministry to post all the available facts and details of Polavaram project on their official web page.

The project has been regarded as a national project by the central government as it will provide water for both dam and irrigational purposes. The project attained much attention when Odisha and Chhattisgarh argued that the project was flooding their land.

 

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Cancer-Causing Chemical Found In Odisha Fish Sample

Odisha mostly depends on Andhra Pradesh to meet its demand for fish. Last year, the total fish production in Odisha was around 6.5 lakh tonne

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Cancer Ribbon. Pixabay

Cancer-causing chemical formalin was found in fish stocks available in the markets here, an official said on Friday.

Traces of cancer-causing formalin were found in Pomfret fish samples, collected from the Unit-IV fish market in Bhubaneswar, said Fisheries and Animal Resources Development Department Secretary Vishal Gagan.

A 12-member team from the department collected samples of around nine varieties of fish including marine, freshwater, and brackish water from the market and Chilika Fresh outlets — fish retailers — on Friday.

While formalin content was found in Pomfret fish samples, Gagan said the entire stock will be destroyed if more fish tested positive.

After the Assam government banned the import of fish from Andhra Pradesh, the Odisha government on Thursday issued directions to examine the quality of fish being imported from Andhra Pradesh to detect the presence of formalin.

Verification samples at different fish markets in urban and rural areas will be taken up in order to prevent the sale of adulterated fish.
Verification samples at different fish markets in urban and rural areas will be taken up in order to prevent the sale of adulterated fish.

Formalin, a cancer-inducing chemical, is used to keep dead fish fresh and enhance their storage life.

Gagan also informed that a committee under the District Collectors will be formed to ensure that no prohibitory substances are used to preserve the stock.

“As only one out of nine samples has tested positive, we are now concentrating on collecting information from various parts of the state and will take an appropriate decision regarding a ban on fish imports,” he said.

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Verification samples at different fish markets in urban and rural areas will be taken up in order to prevent the sale of adulterated fish.

Odisha mostly depends on Andhra Pradesh to meet its demand for fish. Last year, the total fish production in Odisha was around 6.5 lakh tonne. (IANS)