Chhattisgarh’s river linking plan to ‘throttle’ Mahanadi water even more

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Bhubaneswar: With controversy over formation of a tribunal to resolve the ongoing dispute on Mahanadi water yet to die down, Chhattisgarh’s river interlinking plan has compounded the concerns of Odisha.

The neighbouring State is planning to interlink Mahanadi to Tandula and Pairy rivers, survey of which has commenced already. It was informed by Chhattisgarh’s Water Resources minister Brijmohan Agrawal recently at a press meet in Raipur.

He said the State has initiated the survey of the project to divert water from Mahanadi to Pairy river basin. Work of other interlinking projects will begin soon, he added.

The new plan of the neighbouring State has raised apprehension that flow of water into Hirakud reservoir could be severely affected and may lead to acute water scarcity in 16 districts of Odisha.

“Data says the flow of water has already decreased after construction of barrages in the upstream. The flow would be severely hit if the interlinking projects get operational. It would pose serious threat to the livelihood of Odisha people,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.

Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra suggested the State government to apprise the Supreme Court about the matter and the pending tribunal issue. “The government should draw the attention of the Supreme Court on the issue through affidavit along with the tribunal case,” Mishra added.

Sources said the flow of water into Hirakud has been severely affected even during monsoon due to illegal constructions by Chhattisgarh. During last year monsoon, the reservoir had received 16.672 million acre feet while this year it came down to 11.871. The State government apprehends that flow of water would decrease by 77 per cent by the end of May, 2018.

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