Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Even 15 years after the laying of the foundation stone, Mahendratanaya irrigation project in Gajapati district is yet to see the light of the day.

Long delay in the construction work has left the locals, especially the farmers in the region, irked.

Mahendratanaya is a tributary of Bansadhara. It originates from Mahendragiri and passes through Andhra Pradesh. The neighbouring state has already started several irrigation projects to dry up the water from the river. 

The delay in the project work by the Odisha Government is only helping Andhra Pradesh execute its plan properly. Following the completion of the projects by the neighbouring state, locals in Paralakhemundi Region will face acute water shortage.

Following widespread resentment and protests in the region, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone of an irrigation project at Champapur in Rayagada Block on April 30, 2008. Another project at Dimbapur was also reportedly in the offing.

Patnaik had then announced that both the projects would be completed after one year. However, the work is yet to be finished even after 15 years. While, only half of the project work has been completed at Dimbapur, Champapur project work has made no headway.

Thousands of farmers are reportedly suffering due to the delay in the projects which deprived them of irrigational benefits.

“Despite the assurance of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the irrigation project at Champapur has not been completed even after 15 years. It is quiet unfortunate,” said Purnachandra Mohapatra, a local resident.

“Around 7-8 lakh people depend upon the water of Mahendratanaya that is getting wasted by flowing to sea. Odisha government should complete the irrigation projects immediately for the benefit of the local farmers and residents,” said Umesh Prasad Rath, a lawyer.