The Polavaram multipurpose project has been under consideration since 1943. It was conceived as a storage scheme for the Godavari. The dam will come up at Polavaram, in between three districts of Andhra Pradesh, namely East Godavari, West Godavari and Khammam. In 1982, the Central Water Commission gave hydrological clearance to the project after the Godavari Water Disputes Tribunal recognized the need to go ahead with the project. In August 2005, the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued a stay order on all work related to the Polavaram project, on grounds that the government had not obtained the necessary clearances from the Ministry of Environment and Forests. The project was revived in October 2005, after the environment clearance was received.
According to the Indian Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the project will displace around 200,000 people in the three states of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Ou of them, at least 150,000 are tribals (the submergence area includes 170 habitations of Koya and Kondareddy tribals), and the rest mostly dalits dependent on minor forest produce for their livelihood .
Orissa government has objected to the dams construction on grounds that it will cause large-scale submergence and displacement in several villages and agricultural lands in the state . Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has addressed a letter to Planning Commission of India not to grant revised investment clearance to the controversial multi-purpose project. Orissa government is claiming that a large portion of Malkangiri district would be submerged if the Polavaram project was allowed in the neighbouring state. So, Orissa government has filed a suit in the Supreme Court challenging the Ministry of Environment and Forests environmental clearance. Orissa state administration also opposed to the R&R (rehabilitation and resettlement) clearance accorded by the Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MOTA) . The Supreme Court has appointed an expert to inspect the Polavaram dam to ascertain whether it was being constructed in terms of the Godavari Tribunal Award [3, 5, 6].