Ramakanta Biswas

Baripada: The fate of a barrage project on Sono river is hanging in balance even as six years have passed since the foundation stone of the project was laid.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone of the proposed barrage near Jaida village in Udala area of Mayurbhanj district in 2014.

The 234.50m barrage project is expected to irrigate 9.900 thousand hectare of land in Gopabandhu Nagar block of Mayurbhanj and Remuna block of Balasore district.
However, barring a signboard, no progress in the construction of the barrage has been seen at the project site in the last six years triggering resentment among the local residents who now blame the department officials for the inordinate delay.

Ajay Das, a farmer, said, "Only an information board was erected at the site of the barrage, but the construction work is yet to commence. People are facing many difficulties due to lack of the barrage. They will be immensely benefitted if the barrage is constructed at the earliest."

Former MLA of Udala, Srinath Soren, said, "The State government has already given green signal for barrage project and the work will begin very soon. I personally met the engineer-in-chief two months back and requested him to look into the matter. Once the barrage is constructed, farmers of seven gram panchayats of Gopabandhu Nagar block will carry out cultivation smoothly without facing any irrigation issue."

The executive engineer of the minor irrigation department said that the tender for the project will be floated and the construction work will start soon.

"A team had visited the site for final observation. More budget will be sanctioned for the project under 2021-22 year's budget provision and arrangements will be made for commencement of the construction work," said executive engineer of minor irrigation, Mayurbhanj, Loknath Mohanty.

"Data regarding design has been submitted and further discussion will be held and the design will be finalised within a month," he added.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)