Once a perennial river, the river Mahanadi has now become a shadow of its former self, leaving the people of riparian areas to fend for themselves.
Sitting on the delta of Tel, Suktel and Mahanadi, Sonepur district once used to feel proud of the Mahanadi’s vast water and the somnolent breeze. The picture is no longer the same.
With the river being reduced to a stream, the summer has become unbearable for the people of the district. The situation in Jharsuguda district’s Sukhosoda area is no better either.
It has all been ascribed to the 66 sluice gates of Kalma barrage in Chhattisgarh being shut.
“Had the government constructed barrages on the Mahanadi, Tel and Suktel rivers, the situation would have been a different one with people getting irrigation facility and a respite from the scorching summer,” said a Sonepur resident, Gobind Maharana.
Echoing the same, a Boudh resident Pratap Rath said, besides farmers, the fishermen have also lost their means of livelihood.
Expressing his concern, Union Minister for Water Resources Bishweswar Tudu said, “What Chhattisgarh has done is for its own advantages. Instead of accusing Chhattisgarh, we should introspect what we have done for our people. The problem would come to an end if both the States come to a consensus.”
In his reaction, Water Resources Minister Raghunandan Mishra said, “We welcome the Union Minister’s proposal. Since the dispute is sub-judice in the tribunal, steps can be taken only after obtaining its permission.”