Chhattisgarh’s projects on Tel River: Odisha villages staring at water scarcity, submersion

Nabarangpur: After Mahanadi, neighbouring Chhattisgarh has started construction work of several projects on Tel River adding to the worries of Odisha farmers.

While the Chhattisgarh government has started construction work on a diversion project on Tel River at Amad, around 400 metre away from Chandahandi block of Nabarangpur district of Odisha, at an estimated cost of Rs 18 crore, another barrage is being constructed at the confluence of Tel and Baree rivers.

Besides, Chhattisgarh has plans to construct two canals on Tel River, informed sources.

With these projects, farmers of Chhattisgarh will be benefitted whereas farmers from Odisha residing in downstream areas will face severe water scarcity, believe experts. Some villages located in upstream areas within Odisha boundary such as Malgaon, Gambhariguda and Khaparadidhi will be inundated because of these projects, said sources.

“During a field visit in rainy season someone can find that our village gets inundated as Tel River swells. We are scared as flood water will submerge farmland and the village once these projects get completed,” said Harischandra Sunani, a resident of Khaparadihi village.

“If the neighbouring State increases the dam height by seven feet, flood water will flow into the village and cause heavy damage,” stated Tumukulal Sahu, a farmer.

Meanwhile, an official of the Chhattisgarh government allayed the apprehensions and said villages of neither Odisha nor Chhattisgarh will be submerged. Moreover, farmers of Odisha will be benefitted with the barrage on Tel River.

“No village from Chhattisgarh and Odisha will be submerged and water level will increase within the Chhattisgarh border. There will be no loss for villages in Odisha as ground water level will increase there as well,” said Deepak Kumar Pathak, Small Irrigation Projects Official of Deobhog in Chhattisgarh.

On the other hand, working president of Odisha Congress, Pradeep Majhi said “Odisha government’s Water Resources department and the Nabarangpur district administration are in deep slumber which is why the Chhattisgarh government has constructed a project at Amad. We are holding discussions on how to prevent Chandhandi areas from being submerged. The party will intensify its agitation in coming days.”

Odisha Congress chief, Niranjan Patnaik also demanded that the Chief Minister of Odisha should highlight the issue of Chhattisgarh’s barrage construction on Tel River before the Mahanadi tribunal.

BJD’s Nabarangpur MP, Balabhadra Majhi said, “By presenting wrong information they (Congress) are trying to get political mileage. I want to clarify that only survey work has been carried out and no village in Odisha will be submerged due to the projects.”

Expressing similar views, BJP’s Nabarangpur District president Gobind Jain said, “With these projects no village in Odisha will be submerged, barring some acres of farmland. If any loss occurs to famers in the State in coming days, BJP will stage agitation.”