Chhattisgarh barrages a bane for Bargarh farmers, fishermen

Bhubaneswar/Bargarh: The construction of barrages and dams by Chhattisgarh government in the upstream of river Mahanadi has badly affected the living of farmers and fishermen in Ambhavona block in Bargarh district.

A ground report of OTV from Chikhili village in the block revealed that the river which used to have 10-to 15 feet deep water even during summer, has almost dried up. Villagers used to take boats to cross the river. But, now the scene is completely different as they can walk through the dried river bed to reach the other side.

They alleged the unilateral action of the neighbouring State has put their living in trouble. “The livelihood of the fishermen has been severely affected due to blockage of water by Chhattisgarh in the upstream,” said Pabitra, a local fisherman.

The dried river bed has also led to severe drinking water and irrigation crisis in the area. “As the river has dried up, irrigation of the farm land has been severely hit. Tube-wells are also not providing drinking water as the ground water level has dropped,” said Himsagar Pandey, local farmer.

On the other hand, political slugfest among the parties over the issue has become a regular affair. BJD blamed the officials for failing to notice Chhattisgarh’s activities from the beginning. “It is a mistake that our officials could not know when Chhattisgarh started construction of barrages on the river,” BJD MLA Mahesh Sahoo said.

BJP, however, demanded a white paper on the row. “The truth will only come out if the State government published a White Paper on the matter. BJP would also do so after State government’ s action”, said BJP State general secretary Prithivraj Harichandan.