Mahanadi row: Odisha govt was aware of Arpa-Bhaisajhar project 3 years ago!

Bhubaneswar: Even as the BJD has intensified its statewide agitation in Odisha in protest against unilateral construction of projects by the Chhattisgarh government in the upper catchments of Mahanadi, it is now revealed that the Odisha government was aware of the construction of seven projects, including Arpa-Bhaisajhar barrage project, at least three years ago.

A letter of the Engineer-in-Chief of the state Water Resources department to his Chhattisgarh counterpart on April 26 this year, a copy of which has been obtained by OTV, says the Odisha government had come to know about the construction of seven barrages, including Arpa-Bhaisajhar barrage, during his meeting with the Chhattisgarh Water Resources department in 2013.

The letter was written by the state government nine months after it had received a letter from the Chhattisgarh government on July 28, 2015 informing it about the construction of Arpa-Bhaisajhar project while enclosing a copy of the detailed project report (DPR) of the said project in the letter.

In his letter, the state Engineer-in-Chief had also said the Chhattisgarh government had not informed the Odisha government about the volume of Mahanadi water to be used by it from these seven projects.

Apart from this, the letter had also mentioned about the analysis of the DPR by the Odisha government on Tandula Reservoir Augmentation Programme of the Chhattisgarh government.

Though the letter had apprehended that the proposed Pairi-Mahanadi river linking project incorporating four dams will have an adverse impact on Hirakud dam, it had praised the Chhattisgarh government saying the proposed project will play a major role in flood control.

The question is why the state government had remained silent while it was aware of the construction of seven projects by the Chhattisgarh government three years ago and why it had not lodged its protest with the Centre and the Central Water Commission (CWC)?