Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: A four-hour strike has been called by the BJD on Saturday in four districts of Odisha over Mahanadi water dispute. Besides, rallies will be held in the four districts today afternoon along with roadside meetings. This was informed by BJD Vice-President Prasanna Acharya at a Press Meet here today.

The strike will commence from 6 am to 10 am in four districts which are dependent on Mahanadi water - Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh and Sonepur. Emergency services, however, will be exempted from the strike, added Acharya.

Earlier on June 3, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written to Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh to instruct the officials of Chhattisgarh water resources department to immediately open the gates of Kalma barrage and ensure free flow of water in Mahanadi River.

Patnaik had also urged Singh to open the gates of Kalma and other barrages to maintain free flow of water downstream which, the letter stated, is the rightful claim of Odisha and its inhabitants.

The Kalma barrage is one of the six barrages unilaterally built by the Chhattisgarh State government across the inter-state river Mahanadi without any reference or regard to the downstream interests of Odisha and its inhabitants, the letter read.

In downstream areas of Odisha, drinking water supply in Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Sonepur and many other districts have been reportedly affected due to the closure of the Kalma barrage gates.