Bhubaneswar: At a time when the Mahanadi water dispute is still unresolved and the tribunal is yet to begin its proceedings, the Chhattisgarh government’s construction of a dam on the upper catchment of Ib River at Gulu in Jashpur district has raised further concerns for Odisha.
According to sources, Chhattisgarh's construction of a dam at Gulu for a 24 megawatt hydroelectricity power project and also for irrigation has considerably reduced the water flow in Ib River into Odisha within a period of just two years.
As per reports, the neighbouring state has stopped the water flow of Ib River (main tributary river of Mahanadi) by closing five gates of the dam creating serious problems for the people of Sundergarh and Jharsuguda districts.
Besides reduction in the flow of water into the Ib, the water level of Mahanadi river is also likely to get adversely affected, said experts.
“Earlier we were able to produce good amount of vegetables but lack of water has destroyed our crops. On the other hand, farmers in the upper catchment of the river are having good production,” said a resident of Balisankara village, Bibek Patel.
“We have made some arrangements to store water during the rainy season which will help the people in the region during need,” said Sundergarh Collector, Vineet Bharadwaj.
On this backdrop, the ruling-BJD in Odisha on Thursday targeted the Centre and criticized the Chhattisgarh government for trying to settle political scores by obstructing flow of water in rivers like Mahanadi and Ib.
“Prior to starting any project, the Chhattisgarh government should have discussed with the Odisha government and take its opinion and permission. But that didn’t happen. It’s a blatant attempt and plan of the neighbouring state to convert Odisha into a desert and the Cental government is a part of this conspiracy,” alleged BJD spokesperson & Rajya Sabha member, Prasanna Acharya.
Odisha BJP on the other hand denied allegations and blamed the State government for not being able to resolve the issue.
“The Odisha government is solely responsible for water-related disputes. The water resource department of the State is unable to press its demands and resolve the issue,” said BJP MLA, Rabi Nayak.
Adding insult to injury, Chhattisgarh is also planning to make another barrage at Samdama region in Jashpur district which will further worsen the situation, informed sources.