No change in Polavaram design: Minister

New Delhi, June 30: Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal today said that as of now there was no proposal before the Centre for any change in the design of the Polavaram project.

Speaking to newsmen after meeting a delegation of Telugu Desam leaders, he said the ministry was processing the file and the delay in according final clearances was on account of escalation in cost visa- vis the original estimates.

As for the contentious Babli project taken up by Maharashtra, Bansal said he would convene a meeting of chief ministers to sort out the issue.

AP has been urging the Centre to direct Maharashtra to stop execution of the project on the ground that it was in gross violation of the watersharing arrangement between the riparian States. “We will not act in favour of any State in water-sharing disputes,” Bansal told the TDP delegation when they accused the ministry of doing little to check States from violating water-sharing awards. He promised to depute a technical team to assess if Maharashtra had been utilising more than its allocated share of Godavari waters.

The Central Water Commission has already asked Maharashtra to stop the project but Maharashtra has virtually ignored the directive. Taken up in 2005, work has been going on at Babli village in Nanded district, about 15 km from the AP border.

After the meeting with the Union Minister, TDP leaders pointed out that Telangana would turn into a desert if Maharashtra was allowed to complete the project as it would badly affect inflows into the Sriramsagar project.