At a time when the Odisha government has been sitting idle, Andhra Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy is leaving no stone unturned to complete several projects over Mahendratanaya and Vansadhara rivers.
Once completed, these projects will allegedly cause severe water crises in areas under Paralakhemundi and Gunpur and also submerge large tracts of farmland in Gosani and Rayagada blocks of Gajapati district.
As per the latest report, Jagan Mohan Reddy has sanctioned a whopping Rs 300crore to complete the Regulupadu Irrigation Project over Mahendratanaya river and Rs 167 crore for the renovation of Hiramandalam Dam on the lower basin of Vansadhara river.
Although it is over 15 years, CM Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for Mahendratanaya irrigation project near Dambapur in Gajapati district, the project is yet to see the light of day.
“It’s been more than 15 years now. The CM laid the foundation stone for the irrigation projects in 2008. He had promised that the work would be completed within a year, but 15 years have passed by. There is no canal system or pipeline,” intellectual Purnachandra Mahapatra said.
While the Odisha government delayed the work, the Andhra Pradesh government is continuing with the construction work and is planning to divert water to a reservoir. This will severely affect the farmers of Gajapati and Rayagada who depended on the Mahendratanaya and Vansadhara river for irrigation.
With the sanction of more money, Andhra government has stepped up the construction of its off-take sluice projects, while Odisha projects have remained incomplete so far. The lack of political will by the Odisha government will deprive lakhs of farmers of irrigational benefits and may lead to a severe water crisis.
Farmers’ leader Suryanarayan Pattnaik said, “Andhra Pradesh government is slowly eyeing everything of Odisha like they took away Koita and other places. I suspect they will also take illegal claim over the Vansadhara and Mahendratanaya projects.”
“The state government has miserably failed to complete the projects even as 15 years have gone by. We have little hope that they will complete it anytime soon. This clearly shows the lack of political will,” he added.
Meanwhile, the district administration claimed that the Champapur Project work would begin soon and would be completed well in advance before Andhra projects.
(Reported by Adarsh Dash, OTV)