What would Andhra Pradesh be without Vijayawada

Hermann Brünjes collected the following information via the Internet, befriended NGOs and visits. Since 2004 an Indian court made the planning of the dam possible and Indian newspapers reported this, Hermann Brünjes has been informing about the development. If you would like to find out details and are looking for further material information, please contact him. Email: [email protected]

May 21, 2021 Delay in construction because of lockdown in Germany

The Times of India reports (see link) that the construction of the dam overflow is being delayed due to the lockdown in Germany. The 12 hydraulic cylinders still missing from the German manufacturer cannot be imported or delivered on time due to the lockdown. Is that really the case? The corona situation in India is probably at least as big a problem. In any case, resettlements must also be postponed there.

Meanwhile we are still waiting for the reaction of the company Montan GmbH, which supplies the hydraulic cylinders and earns a lot of money from it, for a response to a letter asking for support for the victims of the dam. While the German company Bauer, which was significantly involved in the priming of the dam, entered into a discussion about the situation of the dam victims, Montan GmbH is apparently not interested in it. Too bad.

March 18, 2021 Court delays relocation

According to a current court order in the High Court of Andhra Pradesh, the prerequisite for relocation is the final completion of all necessary infrastructure in the new settlements. Many still lack water connections, drains, roads, temples / churches, toilets, common rooms and cemeteries. In addition, some houses are not finished. Before all of this is held up, it is not allowed to move around.

For example, 15 Adivasi villages have already been illegally cleared and destroyed for the dam. The tribesmen enjoy special protection under the law and may not be expelled against their will. This is exactly what has happened - but is now expressly only permitted by the court when the entire settlements are completed and their future is secured. 188,012 people in 98,818 families from 371 villages and settlements are affected. 55% of them are Adivasi (tribesmen), 15% Hindu castes, 17% Dalits (casteless) and 13% other affiliations.

February 4, 2021 hydraulics from Germany

Now the central government has approved the grant of INR 55,548 billion. Various media are now reporting that the German company Montan Hydraulik GmbH is supplying the hydraulic lifting cylinders for the 48 gates of the overflow. 70 of these gigantic cylinders have already been brought from Germany to the port of Viskhapatnam on a special ship and were transported from there to the construction site by special transporters. Another 26 cylinders are still on the way. A total of 98 gates will be installed in the project, which are hydraulically operated on the overflow at a height of 55 meters. Polavaram project engineers say this is the first time in the country that hydraulic gates will be installed on a project. They are the world's largest systems of this type and are 20.83 meters high and 15.96 meters wide. Each door weighs 300 tons, the hydraulics are designed for 200 tons.

Construction continued even during the pandemic. The entire system, including the earth coffer dam, is to be completed by 2022.

In the meantime, preparations for the resettlement are continuing, albeit with less good news in some cases. Villages have already been relocated to not really completed settlements. There were no roads, sewers, etc. The government continues to insist that it will do everything possible for the relocated families.

In the area of ​​the GSELC, the villages in the east, i.e. Koyda, Yedavalli, Tekupalli, etc. will be relocated first. Then it hits the area around Rudramakota, Yelerupadu to Kukunuru. Also V.R. Puram and the flat areas in the Kunavaram area will soon be affected. Larger resettlements are expected to take place in May. The GSELC advises with its partners (UELCI and ELM) how to help people and how to build new churches.

Here are some interesting pictures about the development of the dam.

October 22, 2020 Central government cuts grant

If what was decided today in the Delhi Ministry of Finance remains, it will be at the expense of the resettlement because of the Polavaram project. The Jagan government of Andhra Pradesh has reckoned with project costs of most recently INR 55,548 billion. The government has now only estimated the 2013/14 costs of INR 20,398 billion and only wants to reimburse the outstanding INR 7,053 billion. Under the previous government, hardly anything had been used to relocate those affected. The new state government succeeded in getting the project through as a "national project" and thus increasing the calculated amount of the costs for the central government to INR 47,725 billion. This is now being reversed by the Narendra Modi government. If it stays that way, it would be an extremely hard blow to the Jagan government. It is then very questionable whether the money will still be raised for an adequate resettlement.

see news from India

End of July 2020 Relocation begins

The first 15 villages in the (Mandal) Velerupadu district are now being relocated (approx. 7,000 people). The same applies to 19 villages in Polavaram County. If the river rises during the monsoons, it will flood villages and fields as it is already partially dammed during the Polavaram Dam project. The dam will then be 41.5 meters high.

In the now affected area of ​​Velerupadu (followed by the Kukunuru region), Christian families live in all of the villages, and in some there are parishes and churches. 1,626 families with 4,012 people belonging to the GSELC live on the south side of the river in 24 villages currently affected by resettlement. A difficult time is now beginning for them. Affected are the well-known villages Koyda, Yedavalli, Tekupalli, Koturu, Chiguramamidi, Rudramakota and others - those Orde that are located directly on the steep banks of the river or in flat valleys. The previously beautiful valleys with fields, forests and small streams are flooded.

People are being resettled from the southern side of the river to large settlements approx. 5 - 25 km away in the south. In the area of ​​the large villages of Tadvai, Buttayagudem, Doramamidi, Rachannagudem and Mulagala and the city of Jalakallagudem, large new settlements were built, each with around 500 families, i.e. well over a thousand people.

Here you can find information about the first resettlement.

24.01.2020 Townships for resettlement

When visiting in January 2020, we will pass some of the villages built for resettlement. They are rather small cities: 500 houses should accommodate as many families. While the houses were designed to be small with only two rooms during the government, which has since been voted out, they have now become larger. A family gets five rooms.

However, the whole thing remains extremely problematic. 1. The villages will not be resettled as a whole, but will be separated according to castes and tribal affiliations. In this way old relationships break, the Christian communities are separated and the division is encouraged. 2. The farms are small, and the land for cultivation is sometimes very far away. 3. Coolies and farm workers hardly find work because the farmers in the area already have their workers.

The government wants to finance the families for a year as a transition period. But is this enough to build a new existence?

The villages also include schools, health centers, temples and churches. The problem: only one church is being built. The previous congregations (family churches, GSELC, Pentecostals) must somehow come to an agreement ...

24.01.2020 It is being built - but it takes ...

As part of the delegates' trip, Eckard Krause, Arne Bergmann and Hermann Brünjes were able to visit the large construction site. The impression: Although construction is being carried out on the "Spillway" (the overflow with its large gates) - it will take a long time before the system is finished. The CM Jagan and Minister of Andhra Pradesh assert that they would not need more than 2 years. We suspect it will be at least another 8 years. The financing is still unclear. The central government, directed by Narendra Modi (BJP), is becoming more and more reserved towards the non-aligned government of Andhra. So no more funds are released. Construction stalls again and again. The actual dam with the power station for generating electricity has not yet been built. Only the underground foundations are in place. The German civil engineering company Bauer has completed this and left the site with its special machines. Two temporary dams have now been built to enable the dam to be built. We also visit the tunnels that connect the southern canal with the reservoir. Although both were dug years ago, only one is halfway paved and thus completed.

8.8.2019  The new state government wants to start over with the project

All previous work, contracts and financial flows in connection with Polavaram have been reviewed since the start of official business in June. Various irregularities have been discovered and legal steps are to be initiated. The "Times of India" published on 6.8. this post:

The preliminary investigation has ended and the committee of experts has now opened an in-depth investigation, said the minister responsible. The preliminary investigation found several irregularities in the award of tenders in the implementation of the project. "There are irregularities from both the government and the contractor," said the minister.
The minister said the government was taking these mistakes seriously and would take legal action against those responsible. He said the government will demand back any excess money that the previous government paid to the contractor.
The minister accused the TDP government of not having implemented a rehabilitation and relocation package as part of the Polavaram project. “The TDP government was more concerned with technical work and promotion than rehabilitation and resettlement. Many people are to be rehabilitated and dozens of apartments relocated that were completely ignored by the previous government, ”the minister said. He added that the new government will be pushing both the technical work of the project and the rehabilitation and relocation packages at the same time.
When he became aware that the Polavaram project had received an award from the central government, the minister said that “there is not much to say about the awards.” “We are not concerned about the awards or the appreciation they have received. People have punished TDP and that is what matters, ”said the minister.
“The Polavaram project was started by the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy and completed by YS Jaganmohan Reddy. There is no second opinion on this. We will complete the project according to the new schedule, ”said the minister.

January 2019 The project becomes visible

Visitors from East Frisia also visited the Polavaram project in January and brought photos with them. In the meantime the "Spillway", the overflow of the dam, is almost finished. The actual dam wall with the power plant inside is not yet finished. In view of the elections in May, pressure is now being put on the workers and they want to present successes. This also applies to the new settlements for all (or in fact only "some") who are relocated. What the German guests found strange: Hundreds of day trippers in buses, etc. flock to the project to see it. The work continues - in between project tourists and the curious.

Our partners report that the relocation continues to be more than questionable. The people in the affected villages feel abandoned and are deeply insecure.

11.1.2019  Megalithic graves are being lost

As already mentioned, the entire area of ​​the reservoir was examined for archaeological peculiarities with drones. Two grave complexes were found, megalithic graves that date back to the early Bronze Age, i.e. from approx. 500 to 2,500 BC. Until now, it was not known that such a culture existed not only in the Indus valley, but also in the Dravidian south of India before the conquest by Aryan tribes.

Most of these graves are now being lost. Some have been saved and rebuilt in museums. Here is some information.

Hermann Brünjes' thriller "See Red and Die" is an exciting crime story that revolves around the discovery of the graves, the early history of India and its effects to this day. More information here. 

9.1.2019  Prestige project in the Guinness Book of Records

You take part in competitions. The last company operating the project has already received awards for coordination on the construction site. But now they are particularly proud: 32,100 square meters of earth were moved in 24 hours during the construction of the overflow channel. This broke the old record from Dubai (21,580 m2). So the project now appears in the Guinness Book of Records.

Meanwhile, fear and struggles for livelihoods continue in the villages. Furthermore, the Prime Minister is sticking to the ambitious goal of completing the dam by 2019 (this year). It will be elected this year! Allegedly 540 villages benefit from the irrigation projects made possible by the project (28 million people). It's good. However, when you consider that over 300 villages sink into the reservoir, this raises certain questions ...

2.12.2018  Polavaram aid project for 20 villages

In two phases of 3 months each, the NGO SEWAA, under the leadership of the social worker Krishna Rao, on behalf of the FMD and in consultation with the GSELC, helped many victims of the Polavaram project.

The increase of the dam, which was decided against much opposition, will affect at least another 80 villages in Andhra Pradesh. Together there are now over 250 villages that are drowning in the reservoir. In those 80 villages, the population is barely or not at all informed to this day. People don't know what rights they have, what compensation to get, how to claim their rights, etc. A lot of fear has spread, especially as the government keeps claiming that the dam will be ready in 2019, given the upcoming elections next year.

In 20 of the villages, social worker Krishna has set up committees with 3 employees and informed them about the rights. The villagers are now better able to represent their affairs before politicians and local rulers. They know their claims and rights. In 10 of the villages, all families were visited in the second phase of the project, informed and supported in submitting the relevant documents.

The project is now resting for the time being. The GSELC is discussing the continuation. Many thanks to everyone who has supported this help so far.

Here are a few photos from the village committee meetings

April 6, 2018 Help from the FMD

Almost 300 villages are to be relocated through the Polavaram project. Christian families live in many of them. The GSELC has now selected 20 of the villages with a particularly high proportion of Christian families in order to provide at least an advisory service to get state help with the resettlement. The social worker Krishna with his multiple award-winning organization SEWAA has taken on this task. The GSELC is working with him and the AK Weltmission has agreed to support the consultation. It begins with a 3-month phase of evaluation and a detailed determination of how help should look most useful.

1st February 2018 Dispute over land intended for tribals

In line with what those affected have reported to me, an article about a dispute over land appears today in TheHans (Link). Tribals are to be settled near Darbhagudem and the government wants to build a settlement. The farmers who previously cultivated the land there but have now sold it to the government have now grown tobacco and invested a lot of money in it. Now the government apparently wanted to start building the settlements and the tribals were supposed to cultivate this land - the police had to be involved in the dispute, the land was forcibly cleared and some people involved were injured.

8-14 January 2018 Survey of those affected on site

For a week I was able to visit communities in the area affected by the dam and have various conversations with victims of this major project. General: Fear, uncertainty and helplessness has now reached all villages. With the second round of compensation payments for non-tribals, the topicality of the eviction suddenly became credible for many. The pressure on those affected varies.

Big farmers and influential businessmen have already secured their compensation and made deals with the politicians while the simple peasants and coolies were fighting the project together with the communists. In the meantime, many of them have collected huge sums of money and have already secured new land for themselves or established an existence elsewhere.

Nontribals should be financially compensated by the state. Funds have already been paid out in some regions. This second payment was higher than the one made a few years ago, but the money is not enough to buy new land and build a new life.Many of the nontribals are still waiting for their compensation and have already planned the money. Those who have no land and work as coolies are particularly bad off. You get a per capita amount and take a step into an uncertain future.

The tribals was promised land by land and house by house. There is only limited land (2.5 acres), everything else should be financially remunerated. The compensation has many catches, however: if land is flooded but the house is not, then there is only land - and that possibly 20 km away from the village. Whoever has no documents (like most of them!) Receives nothing or only financial compensation.

A lot of money disappears through corruption. Hardly anyone stands up for the victims, as politicians and employees of NGOs are also affected and seek their advantage. For details, please refer to the attached .pdf, which I created as a report. dms / freundeskreis_missio / india / current / 2018_01_Polavaram survey.pdf

November 8, 2017 Pressure to finish raises fears

The stronger the pressure from the government to complete the project by 2019, the greater the fear of those affected that they will not be compensated and that no alternative settlement areas will be offered. The accusation against the CM Chandrababu Naidu: He is taking care of the completion of the project before the elections in 2019, new construction companies are engaged, weekly reports and inspections are carried out, etc. - but the compensation in the promised amount has hardly been paid out so far. Land for the tribals and new settlements were certainly not realized. The authorities are always making promises and not taking action. If the reservoir were to be flooded in 2019 - how should the compensation and the promised living space be allocated to the more than 300,000 people from 336 villages in 7 districts (Mandal) by then? Here is an article detailing the requests.

10-14 October 2017 Information from the study trip

The Polavaram project was discussed again and again during the trip. It seems that the topic has only now really reached the pastors and the church leadership. The Christians from different churches and congregations work togetherto secure their buildings and land (e.g. in the West Godavari Pastors Fellowship). Submissions are made to the government and a delegation has presented to the Chief Minister. So far one cannot speak of success. Honest on the contrary: listening benevolently and referring to the promises and rules made.
The government has replaced religious buildings in the compensation for villages affected by the canal construction. The congregations there got their church buildings. But now the rule has changed: only one church, one mosque and one temple is built for each new village. The government itself selects the responsible pastors, imans and priests. This is not an option for the many different independent Christian congregations (Pentecostals, CSI, AELC, GSELC, family churches, etc.) each with their own pastors.

The situation is exacerbated by the fact that the tribal people should not be resettled by village but according to their tribe (Koyas, Gondareddis, Lambardi, etc.). So the villages are torn apart. In addition, in most of the villages there are not only tribals, but also non-tribals (Hindus / Dalits, Muslims). The nontribals are compensated with money and will go where they can build something new for themselves or where their relatives help them. The social fabric is therefore completely dissolved. Thus the pastors no longer have any churches - and therefore no income either. The Christians suspect that the central government is behind these requirements and wants to disadvantage Christians in this way.

We look at the area where the Tribals villages south of the river are to be relocated. In the Region of Darbagudem, Buddaiudem, Tadovai, Koyalagudem, Sirpatagudem and Jangareddigudem huge areas are shown. On the one we are looking at, there is the shell of a simple "model house". There should also be land for arable farming. The state has allegedly bought the entire land or is making it available to the tribals. The families should then receive additional financial support for 5 years in order to build up a livelihood. After that there is no more help.

I waved several times when I asked about support from NGOs. Nothing happens, say the pastors. Most of the people in charge are affected themselves, as are the regional politicians. You get wrapped up with promises of good compensations, keep still and do nothing. Only the Maoists and Communists take the side of the common people - but out of sheer political interest. Support? Nothing.

The Social workers Krishna and Raffi report on their project that they carried out in 10 villages. There the families were informed of their rights and committees were formed to campaign for rights. If the pastors and the church leadership agree and think it makes sense, another such project could be launched.

The nontribals are compensated with money. Those who got something years ago (e.g. Rudramakota) have now gone to court to fight for more. Compensation has now risen significantly (because the cost of land, etc. is also skyrocketing) and most families have already spent their money. Motorcycles, washing machines, televisions and even small cars are much more common ... The new compensation amounts to 6.5 lakh (= approx. € 8,600) for singles over the age of 18, and correspondingly more for families. A young woman already knows what she uses this money for: she can finally get married and pay the bride money. "Securing the future" can also look like this.

The Schedule? The Politicians claim the dam will be ready in 2018. Everyone knows, however, that this is an election tactic and that the chief minister wants to wrest the subsidies for the dam from the central government. If he is then re-elected, there would suddenly be different statements ... Technically, the project cannot be finished before 2020. When the settlements will stand on the huge areas for the tribals and the tribal people can move is completely open. And whether there is any money left for it ...? In addition, Odisha is still fighting in court, as many tribal villages are also affected in the neighboring state and the religious-nationalist government there would like to stop the project.

Friday, August 25, 2017 - Relocation fears

An article at newsclick briefly reflects the fears that we have had for a long time: In the end, the displaced will go away empty-handed and there will be a disaster like years ago with the Narmada Dam, only bigger ...
The author complains that the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandra Babu Naidu, keeps talking about the costs and that the dam should be ready before the elections, i.e. by 2019, but so far he has not mentioned the resettlements at all, and certainly not at all Called schedule. 298 villages have to be relocated, at least 300,000 people are affected. 50% of them are Koyas or Kondareddis and 30% belong to Dalits and disadvantaged castes.

After years of resistance against the dam, despite ongoing legal proceedings and also due to lack of information or disinformation of the population, a new organization has now been founded by those affected. The "Polavaram Nirvasitula Sangham" is supposed to ensure that the compensation is paid and that the promised resettlement is carried out.

Since I think the article is a good summary of what happened and a fitting assessment, I am attaching it as a .pdf. I also sent the article to the Bauer company, which is involved in the construction of the dam.

July 10, 2017 Cost increase

Current figures on the Polavaram project were published today. The project was calculated once in 2003/4 at 16,000 crore (2.31 billion euros). Now with a total of 48,000 crore (6.93 billion euros). Of this, 34,000 to 35,000 crore (4.9 - 5.05 billion euros) are supposed to be used for the costs of resettlement and compensation.

5th July 2017Again and again fundamental inquiries 

The Polavaram project is repeatedly requested, although it can no longer be avoided. This includes the cost explosion from 16,000 to 40,000 crore (= from 2.31 to 5.78 billion euros) as well as the lack of expert opinions. To this day, there is still no environmental report, also in relation to the destruction of the natural forest. According to the law, the government is obliged to involve all affected municipalities and inform the population before construction begins. This did not happen either. Since the central government supports the actions of the state of Andhra Pradesh financially, they are also complicit.

In addition, it is questioned whether the dam is even necessary. A pumping station was built on each side of the river ((Pattiseema and Purushothampatnam). They pump large amounts of river water into the two largely finished canals of the "River Linking Program". This is how the farmers are supplied with water. The criticism now: If It goes like this, why then the dam with the reservoir and the huge resettlements? Counter-argument is the insufficient amount of water, most of the water would still flow unused into the sea. Criticism is also that the two pumping stations (4,000 crore = 578 Mill. €) were included in the cost of the Polavaram project, which would become superfluous after the construction of the dam. But now the central government is responsible for this and is also an accomplice here.

Here is the article from Telangana Today.

5th June 2017Support for the displaced from Germany

With a specific donation, the Adivasi coordination was able to commission the social worker Krishna Rao (formerly TfT-Dorektor) with his NGO to support tribal families. so that they get their compensation.

Krishna Rao and another employee gathered leaders and young people in 10 villages, spoke to representatives of the authorities and made the tribesmen so fit that they can vouch for the compensation they are entitled to. Before this project, the people in all 10 villages had little idea about their rights and how to proceed. For Adivasis this means land by land and house by house. 570 families were supported through this 3-month program, which cost around € 1,100. Further support for the families is still open. However, Krishna hopes that the village associations can now stand up for their rights themselves and that the authorities will support them in doing so.

May 26, 2017Forecasts and compensation status

Today The Hans, India brings an interesting article (here the link). It is about the state of affairs with the dam and the resettlers. The chief minister insists that the dam should be completed in 2018 and the entire project in 2019. The relocations for sewers and in the area of ​​the large construction site have not yet been completed, but have been largely carried out. 50 villages are now to be relocated within a year, a real challenge.

The "hot phase" will only begin when the dam wall has reached a height of 45 m. 184 villages will then have to be relocated and compensated. This also includes those districts in which the GSELC has many of its communities (Kukunuru, P.R. Puram, Chintur, Kunavaram, Yetapaka). Land purchases and takeovers are now in progress everywhere.

In my opinion, the article sounds rather cautious and critical, both in terms of the times and the speed of the compensation.

15th May 2017Compensation is consumed

Today there is a terrifying article in "TheHans, India". It is reported that farmers' compensation has been paid in the Kukunuru area. Primarily it will be about non-tribals, the process is nevertheless exemplary: The people have never seen so much money before as they are now holding in their hands. Compensation began in July 2016 for around 4,000 hectares of arable land, irrigation pipes, tanks and wells. The farmers had known how much they would get since December, and now they had the money in their bank accounts. Large sums of money were withdrawn immediately and gave the region an enormous economic boost. In Kukunuru alone, two motorcycle shops have opened. 110 two-wheelers were sold within a week. Richer farmers also bought cars. Air conditioners, flat screen televisions, fridges and freezers ... everything you had longed for was bought. The regional economic boom radiated as far as Ashwaropeta and Bhadrachlam.

What the newspaper says too little: With consumption, the chance of many smaller farmers to build a new future dwindles. They spend the money and are left empty-handed when the reservoir floods their land. The result will be that many of them will become impoverished and lose what they have now: a livelihood.

4th April 2017Topic in the media

The Indian media also talk about the project again and again. The Chief Minister has now forecast completion for 2019 and made it a top priority. He has a weekly video report on the progress of the project. Now he is complaining that the weekly goals are not being achieved and is constantly putting pressure on those who do the work.

At the same time, there are always reports on how those affected are dealt with. It is already clear that these are much less in focus than the prestige project itself. Here you can find an article (English): It's about the expulsion of the tribals. Everyone is silent about it - and at the same time they do their thing. I think the article is impressive as it shows the situation.

Our partner church no longer seems to be silent. Triggered by the possibility of receiving compensation for church land, she became active in campaigning for the loss of land and buildings. Let us hope that the Keitenden extend this to the work for the rights of the congregation members.

The social worker Krishna Rao, who also worked frequently for the church and most recently also worked as TfT director for the FMD, has meanwhile developed and started a temporary project on Adivasi coordination, financed by a private donation. The aim is to help affected families in 10 villages to get the compensation they are entitled to. Please pray for this project.

March 11, 2017A project rarely comes alone ...

We have already reported on the Patiseema project and the planned second pumping station of this type. There, too, people had to leave their homes and be relocated. Another project is now being discussed in India. Halfway between Godavari and the Krishna River, another huge project is to ensure that the water can be distributed to the surrounding area.

TheChinthalapudi Lift Irrigation - According to the project description (see this link), the project (a huge pumping station with a reservoir) will bring enormous benefits to 231 villages in terms of water supply. Only 12 are to be resettled afterwards, including some Adivasi.

A commission made up of employees from various NGOs has now presented a field study that describes something completely different (this link). After that, 127 villages will be relocated and 16 of them are Adivasi. No hearings had taken place here either. Contrary to legal requirements, those affected have not been included and have not given their consent at all.

The reporting of the official media and statements by politicians should be treated with caution: The advantages of the projects are invoked again and again, but the victims are kept secret and the way in which they are implemented, contrary to the laws for the protection of people and nature, is not discussed at all.

February 12, 2017Model villages planned

For a total of 150 crore (1 crore = 10 million rupees = 142,000 €. In this case approx. 21.3 million €) the district government decided yesterday in Eleru to build 19 model villages for the displaced. Each village should have a protected inner courtyard (Anganwadi Center), a school, a church, a temple, a hospital, a tribal shop, a row of shops and a drinking water reservoir. In addition, there will be a community hall, a waste disposal site and pipes for the water supply. (Source THE HANS)

Annotation: "Model villages" were built years ago to make resettlement attractive to people. The village near Gullavai is now dilapidated and overgrown with thorns next to the road. It does not correspond to what Adivasi imagine a good life to be. Let us hope that the measure that has now been decided will be implemented with the involvement of the people. Then at least 19 of up to 400 villages would have a perspective - should there be land in addition to the village and job opportunities for the displaced.

The fact that a church is also planned shows how widespread the Christian faith is among the tribals. Our siblings from GSELC are therefore also negotiating with the authorities. It is to be hoped that this liberal stance will prevail in Andhra Pradesh in the face of ever stronger Hindu nationalism, forced by the central government.

5th February 2017Eight court cases in the highest courts

For decades there have been eight legal proceedings before the Supreme Court, the highest court in India. According to an NGO Rela founded as an association of the project opponents, the rights of tribal communities and displaced persons (more than 400,000 people), but also environmental laws, land rights and the law in general are trampled underfoot. The livelihoods of the tribal communities of Konda Dora, Koya and Reddiraju are destroyed. Read more here.

The friendly NGO Andheri-Hilfe sends us information from its partner Meera Khader. After that, the government defined a further 92 villages as affected. According to the NGO, there are now 462 villages - a huge displacement is looming.

1st February 2017Foundation stone laid for the sealing diaphragm wall by CM Naidu

Yesterday, as part of a religious ceremony and accompanied by Hindu priests, the foundation stone was laid for the sealing wall built by the Bauer company (see below). The Chief Minister has emphasized that with a length of 1,500 m and a depth of 120 m, it is the largest project of its kind in the world. The first half of the wall is to be built by June, then the second half from December. He assumes that the dam would then be built quickly and will be ready in 2019. He also publicly promised further payment of the compensation and relocation. (Source TheHindu)

January 30, 2017Resistance unites

So far there have been countless groups, interest groups and parties that have shaped the resistance against the dam, according to reports from The Hindu, they have now come together. ‘People’s Forum Against Polavaram’ (PFAP) has united local groups in Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana into one large resistance organization. In the third week of February they will meet in Chintoor to discuss further steps. The organization should be independent, but in dialogue with all parties and interest groups. (Source)

January 13, 2017 Doubtful prospects

While we here in Germany and various NGOs in India have been reporting on the dam and its consequences for years, the threatening consequences of this project are apparently only now reaching the communities and employees. You don't think long-term ...
By November, claims for compensation could be filed in some areas. The church has also reported its land and buildings threatened by the reservoir and is expecting compensation. Churches are treated as religious buildings and, like temples and mosques, are to be rebuilt in the new location at the expense of the government. Applications can only be made by registered organizations, not by individuals.
In some cases, not only the Good Shepherd, but the Good Samaritan also claim the land. One can only hope that they will somehow come to an agreement.

Various locations were selected for resettlement. The villages inhabited by tribals should, if possible, be resettled as a group, but many of those affected probably move to where their relatives live. The changed method of compensation is problematic. If there was previously land for land and house for house for the tribals, they will now be given a choice and money can also be paid out. If this is actually done, many would take the money and probably spend it without securing their future.

Here you will find a .pdf file to download. The current article describes the development of the project well, especially from an economic perspective.

January 12, 2017 FMD delegation visits the construction site

As part of the partnership trip, on January 12th we visited the huge construction site of the Indira Sagar Dam. The opportunity arose through contacts with Bauer AG, which received the order to seal the dam. A senior employee of the civil engineering company showed us the huge construction project and explained the project in detail.
Here you can read excerpts from my notes:

Bauer AG maintains its own camp, right next to that of the Indian entrepreneur Transstroy Ltd. The latter probably got the job because the owner is related to the chief minister - at least everyone "knows" that. After there had already been various legal proceedings, there had been an advertisement. Three out of six companies were technically qualified, but very expensive. The decision was then made for one of the technically unqualified companies, Transstroy Ltd., which is completely without any experience with dams.
I hardly recognize anything of the landscape as I saw it on my first visit two years ago. Work is going on everywhere: rocks and soil are removed and deposited elsewhere in large heaps. Many of the huge stone mountains are temporary. They are shredded and processed into building materials, which are then built into the dam. Hundreds of trucks relentlessly move earth and stone. Some of these are huge dump trucks that can load up to 120 tons.

First we look at the model of the entire system. The dam with the power station is on the left, the northern side. It is 1.5 km long and 45 m high. Then there is an island and to the right of it the even longer Spillway, the overflow. This contains gates in the upper part that can be opened or closed as required and drained of water. The Bauer company is building the foundation, so to speak, on the dam, more precisely: the sealing of the dam at the bottom. The system includes various canals, tunnels, basins, roads, bridges, a power plant and of course the reservoir. Once the dam is finished and closed, the lake will be flooded within a single monsoon season. It only takes a few months for the entire area to be flooded - comparable to one of the major floods of recent years.

We drive upstream to the Bauer AG office. It is located next to a large free campus on which the Chief Minister symbolically opened the facility in front of 5,000 visitors at the beginning of January. However, it was probably more of an election event than the laying of the foundation stone. In any case, in addition to free food, each visitor also received 200 rupees ...
Two other engineers, an Indian and a Canadian, present the project using two large flat screens.
Bauer initially builds long platforms on the sand of the river bed, as the heavy machinery that has already arrived and assembled could not otherwise be used. According to the course of the dam, about two meters are left free in the middle. On this strip, a wall is drawn deep into the ground using individual holes. 120 m of sand in the river bed are drilled through or flushed free and stabilized. Then it goes 5 m deep into the rock. Filled with special concrete, this foundation is even earthquake-proof (which is also required here according to the expert report)! The foundation serves as a lower seal for the dam. So no more water can get under the wall.

When will we finish the wall? The waterproofing can only be done in the dry season, so you need this and next year for it. Only then can the dam be built by oneself. The spillway has to be finished beforehand. So: while the politicians promise to end the project in 2018, it cannot technically succeed before 2020 - even if all the money is available. This means that the flooding could take place in 2021 at the earliest. The resettlement, which has hardly begun at all, would then have to be completed. Either way, the time of upheaval for the tribals and residents of the affected areas has begun and is imminent.

We eat in the canteen. Many of the engineers live and live here, some even with their families (what a desolate home!). The workers mostly come from surrounding villages, truck drivers have been hired from a large area. Because of the explosions, which are always carried out between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., we have to withdraw to a protected area. We wait there for half an hour, talk to some of the engineers about their work and life and watch the clouds of dust rise from a distance. The light is faster than the sound - so we see the clouds of dust first and only then hear the huge detonations.
At the end of the visit, we also put on the prescribed protective clothing (helmet and vest) and drive directly to the construction site. Now we see what we learned earlier in theory. The workers have the platforms ready for the first half of the river and thus for this dry period. Now the recessed middle strip is excavated and the working line of the large machines is prepared with a type of sheet piling. We can well imagine the course of the dam - a gigantic structure.
That is also what the German site manager thinks. He has built such structures all over the world and keeps talking about Bhutan, Pakistan, Lebanon etc. Maybe soon he should go to Afghanistan ... what a life.

On the way back we pass the controversial Pattiseema project shortly after the small town of Polavaram. A large, blue hall covers various powerful pumps that bring water from the river inland. On the opposite side of the river, here 2-3 km wide, the same pumping station is to be built. The project is devouring millions, but it is only temporary: once the dam is operational it will be superfluous. The chief minister is assumed to be a mere election gift to the farmers along and below the river ...

December 29, 201610,000 year old graves discovered

Over 100 ancient stone graves have been discovered near Rudramakota and other villages in the Yelerupadu region. Archeologists estimate many of them to be around the 8th millennium BC. All these archeologically important monuments are inundated by the Stusee. Some of them can be reconstructed in museums, most of them are lost forever. The ancient temples of Kukunoor, Vaddigudem, Motigada and others are also affected. However, these are to be dismantled and set up again elsewhere.

December 29, 2016Violent protests over compensation and inauguration of the canals

In villages where the GSELC also has its communities, there were now violent protests over fear of lack of or insufficient compensation. The streets in V.P. Puram, Chintur, Kunavaram and Devipatnam were blocked for hours by villagers and students.

At the same time, there were allegations from the opposition (APCC) against politicians of the governing parties and local representatives that they are making money for themselves. The increase in costs from 11,000 crore to 40,000 crore is a result of corruption and not the actual increase in costs.

On December 30, 2016, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu is expected at the project site and up to 100,000 visitors with him. THE HANS INDIA reports that water and food are provided, as are means of transport. The completion of the canals and pumping stations is to be inaugurated.