Projects on Mahanadi not to impact Odisha: Chhattisgarh

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Bhubaneswar: Taking note of the strong reaction in Odisha to the construction of barrages and dam projects on the upper catchments of Mahanadi river, the Chhattisgarh government has embarked on a damage control exercise assuring the Odisha government that the constructions on it side will pose no problem for the Hirakud dam.

“The Odisha government has a wrong perception of these ongoing projects and the projects that are completed. We will prepare a detailed report about these projects and send it to the Odisha government. All I can say that there is no dispute between the two states on this issue. I assure the Odisha government that these projects will pose no adverse impact on Hirakud dam,” Chhattisgarh Water Resources minister Brijmohan Agrawal told OTV today.

But the BJD is no mood to accept the contention.

“We will continue our fight on the issue and take up the matter with the Centre,” government deputy chief whip Rohit Pujari told media persons here.

Asked about the matter, former member of Central Water Commission (CWC) Himanshu Thakkar said the Odisha government should have protested construction of such projects much earlier. But he said the matter would be taken to the Inter State Water Dispute Tribunal if the state government feels aggrieved.

Notably, the Chhattisgarh Water Resources minister in his earlier statement had told the media that since Mahanadi originates in Chhattisgarh, the state has the ‘first right’ on its water.

It may be mentioned that taking strong exception to the unilateral construction of major structures in the upper catchments of Mahanadi by the Chhattisgarh government, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to immediately intervene in the matter in a letter on July 4.

In his letter, Patnaik had said seven pick-up weirs across river Mahanadi just upstream of the Hirakud Dam such as Saradi weir and Kalama weir and seven diversion weirs across river Arpa (a tributary of river Seonath, (which again is a tributary of Mahanadi) such as Khongasara Project, Salka Project and Bilaspur project have already been constructed while construction of Ambaguda Diversion Project, Salka Diversion Project, Lachhanpur Diversion Project and Arpa-Bhaisajhar Barrage Project are underway.

Two new projects—Pairi-Mahanadi intra-state link project and Tandula Reservoir Augmentation Scheme on Mahanadi River Project— which would have severe adverse impact on the flow of water into Hirakud Reservoir are also being proposed by the Chhattisgarh government.

Besides, the neighbouring government is also contemplating construction of a reservoir based dam in Kelo River adjacent to Odisha border, he had informed.

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