Mahanadi-Rushikulya linking can help Godavari linkage : Centre

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Bhubaneswar: After Odisha government’s non-acceptance of proposed Mahanadi-Godavari linking project, the Centre in an all new approach to get through the issue has changed the detailed project report (DPR) of the linkage project and instead suggested that linking Mahanadi to Rushikulya can help the cause.

The move comes after the state protested to the recommendations of 13th meeting of Special Committee for Interlinking of Projects which suggested a DPR on Mahanadi-Godavari linkage, a part of Narendra Modi’s ambitious multibillion dollar countrywide river-linking project.

Suggesting some changes in the new DPR, the Centre has proposed Mahanadi and Rushikulya river-linking project can help ease the concerns of Mahanadi-Godavari linkage. Besides, it has also suggested two other linking projects Mahanadi-Brahmani, Vansadhara-Rushikulya in Odisha can also assist the linkage.

Earlier the state government had made its stance clear that it won’t support linking of Mahanadi and Godavari citing concerns that the amount of water in Mahanadi won’t be able to support the linking and could dry up leading to devastating scenario and displacement of lakhs of people in the state.

Meanwhile, the Centre has clarified that any concerns on the linkage are unwarranted as Manas-Sankosh-Teesta-Ganga River linking project will be able to feed Mahanadi with ample water.

Even as the state is yet to make its stance clear on the three inter-river linking projects, verbal duels have ensued between both ruling and Opposition parties.

Taking a dig at Naveen Patnaik led government, BJP’s national secretary Suresh Pujari said state government is like a ‘barlight’ which flickers. “Problems of droughts and dryness over large parts of the state can be alleviated through river linking projects. We don’t know why the state government is unable to understand the situation,” Pujari said.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD said all aspects of the project is being looked at. “If we think that the project will have adverse impacts on the lives of people of Odisha we will never support the Centre in linking the rivers,” BJD spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda said.

Even as the future of the projects hangs in balance, experts though are optimistic of some of the projects mentioned by the Centre. “Even though Mahanadi-Brahmani linking project is technically feasible but I think it won’t be beneficial for the state but on the other hand linking of Mahandi and Rushikulya will be very profitable for Odisha,” former Chief Engineer of Water Resources department, Ramesh Chandra Tripathy said.

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