Chhattisgarh hydro project may dry up Ib river!

Bhubaneswar: Even as the tussle between Odisha and neighbouring Chhattisgarh over the use of Mahanadi river water refuses to die down, the latter’s under construction hydro power project on the upstream of Ib river has posed a threat to the course of this tributary of Mahanadi.

Sources said the Chhattisgarh government is constructing Gullu Hydro Electric project in north east region of the State. The project in Jashpur district envisages utilising the flow of Ib river to generate 24 MW of power.

However, officials engaged at the project site said water from the fall, which flows to maintain the river course, will be diverted for irrigation after power generation.

“It has been proposed that the water of Gullu Fall which flows as a stream of Ib river, will be diverted to a reservoir in Chhattisgarh for irrigation purpose,” said Bhagat Chouhan, a hydro power project official.

Experts said if the proposal is executed, the river, which passes through Raigarh and Jashpur districts of Chhattisgarh and Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts of Odisha, may run much below its water carrying capacity.

Sources added the Rs 200 crore project started in 2011 is expected to be completed by 2017.

The Congress party, which observed a bandh in the issue, today expressed concern over the matter.

“The project is definitely a concern for Odisha as flow of water will tend to decrease after its completion,” Talsara Congerss MLA Prafulla Majhi said.

As per information available in the National Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) Authority, a transmission line will be installed up to a proposed substation at Kunkuri town located 18 Km from the project site for the purpose of evacuation of power to state grid.