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Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Kendrapara: More than 2000 locals formed a massive two kilometre-long human chain at Rajkanika in the district to protest the proposed mega drinking water project on river Kharashrota near Barigada village, on Monday morning.

The project, villagers fear, would not only result in the drying up of the riverbed, but it would also deprive irrigation to their farmland and lead to acute drinking water crisis in the area.

The two kilometre long human chain organised by social organisation Kharasrota Banchaa Sangrama Samiti (KBSS) stretched from Gadagadi Ghat to Achyutapur along the Cuttack-Chandbali road. The protestors raised slogans against the state administration, demanding the cancellation of the project.

According to reports, the project, to be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 892 crores, is meant for supplying drinking water to Bhadrak and Balasore districts by extracting water from river Kharasrota.

“We suspect the project is being carried out to provide water to Multi-National Companies that may need huge quantity of water for their production needs. Kharasrota is situated above sea level. If the companies continue to draw water from the river regularly, the level of the water in it will fall,” alleged Sasmita Nayak, a resident of Rajkanika, adding that the situation will adversely impact farming in the area.

Meanwhile, the KBSS urged the State Government and the district administration to consider the demands of the villagers and scrap the project immediately.

“River Kharasrota is our lifeline. People of Kendrapara completely depend on it for their drinking and agricultural requirements. Any attempt to loot water from here for supply in other areas will be dealt with democratically. We will convene another meeting on November 22 to intensify our protests,” said Debendra Sharma, adviser, KBSS.

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