Odisha mulls gauge site after Chhattisgarh shuts Kalma dam gates

Bhubaneswar: Even as the controversy over the projects on river Mahanadi continues, the Chhattisgarh had closed all the gates of Kalma barrage for two days hitting severely the flow of water into Hirakud reservoir.

The State government has expressed concern over the matter after engineer-in-chief wrote to the secretary of Water Resources department apprising that Hirakud reservoir was ceased due to closure of all gates of Kalma barrage on 12th and 13th December, 2016.

The Mahanadi basin authorities have proposed the government to construct gauge site in the downstream of Kalma to observe the flow of water into Hirakud.

“It is not fair to shut all the gates of Kalama barrage for two days. Anyway, it will affect water flow into Hirakud reservoir. So, gauge station should be constructed for the observation of water inflow during summer”, engineer-in-chief Ramesh Tripathy said.

The State government has demanded halting of operations of all industrial barrages. “The water flow into Hirakud reservoir has been affected due to closure of all gates of Kalma barrage. Considering the interest of Odisha, operations of all industrial barrages need to be stopped at the earliest”, MLA and BJD spokesperson Sashi Bhushan Behera said.

BJP asked the State government to refrain from making only apprehension. “The State government has not yet carried out any survey to ascertain the quantum of water to be affected. They (State government) should make a final assessment instead of apprehending anything on it”, BJP national secretary Suresh Pujari said.

On the other hand, a mega human chain was organised by several social organisations of both States at Kanakatora on the border of two States. All the outfits which organised the human chain under the banner of ‘Mahanadi Bachao and Jibika Bachao’ demanded a special policy on water. They all criticised government of both the States.

“The blame game has started between Odisha and Chhatisgarh. In fact, the two States are competing between themselves to provide water from Mahanadi to industries. That is the reason which put the river and Hirakud in danger”, said Lingaraj, Convenor of Western Odisha Farmers’ outfit.