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Pradeep Singh

Sambalpur: While the Mahanadi water sharing dispute continues to be the bone of contention between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, a crucial coordination meeting of the National Council of Dam Safety was held today to discuss safety of Hirakud and floodwater management.

According to sources, if Chhattisgarh, which has constructed dams on the upstream of Mahanadi, releases water without adequate notice to Odisha, then it will trigger floods in Odisha. It has been finalised in the meeting that the data will be shared using new technologies.

However, sources informed that despite being on the agenda, there were no discussions on the on-going construction of barrages and other projects on the upstream of Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh.

"The meeting majorly discussed the problems that the Hirakud dam will have to face if water from the upstream is released without prior information. They (Chhattisgarh government) will have to inform us before releasing water and also about the condition of their dams," said Jyotirmaya Ratha, chief engineer of Hirakud Dam.

Mahanadi project chief in Raipur, Sanjay Bhagwat said, "We discussed about all the dams on Mahanadi. There has been a mutual sharing of all data so far, but now we want to use advance techniques for the same so that we can share flood-related details at the earliest."

The coordination meeting is usually convened between the officials of Odisha and Chhattisgarh in the month of May or June every year. However, it got delayed this time as the neighbouring state had sought some time.

"To avoid such delay, there is an existing guideline. So there is no problem in reviewing it and taking further course of action accordingly," said Ramesh Tripathy, former engineer-in-chief of Odisha Water Resource Department.

Apart from the engineer-in-chiefs, the meeting was attended by 13 Odisha officials and six from the neighbouring state.

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