Mahanadi row: Odisha moves CWC over water release by Chhattisgarh

Bhubaneswar: Taking strong exception to the unilateral release of Mahanadi water without prior information by Chhattisgarh government through Kalma barrage, the Odisha government has moved the Central Water Commission (CWC). Odisha has also written a letter to the Chhattisgarh government citing that such release of water would create bottlenecks in flood management.

In a letter to the Chairman of the CWC, the Secretary of the Odisha Water Resources department wrote “I request you to impress upon the State of Chhattisgarh and their officers of the Water Resources department to work with us in unison and intimate about their gate opening schedule of different reservoirs and barrages well in advance, thus enabling the State of Odisha to manage the eventuality of flood in Mahanadi river in a better way to safeguard the livelihood of the people downstream to Hirakud Dam.”

At the inter-state coordination committee meeting on flood management held on May 22, it was decided to exchange information on the amount of water inflow and release from various dams. However, as per the Odisha government, Chhattisgarh is not providing the required information on the inflow and release of water for certain dams, thereby hindering effective and efficient management of flood.

“For better management of flood water, Odisha needs to have information on how much water is being released from barrages. Opening of gates of Kalma barrage without prior information did not pose any threat because Hirakud dam is empty. However, it could have created a major problem otherwise,” said chief engineer of Odisha Water Resources department, Suresh Kumar Jain.

“They should have informed us that they were opening the gates so that we could have stayed prepared for flood and kept our reservoirs ready by depleting the water level,” said chief engineer, Dam Safety, Bibhuti Bhushan Panda.

On the other hand, the ruling BJD has said that it will launch protest if Chhattisgarh releases water without information during rainy season.

“Chhattisgarh is acting on whims and conspiring against Odisha. If they release water without informing and it leads to flood-like situation, then we will definitely launch protest,” said BJD spokesperson, Prashant Nanda.

Reacting to BJD’s threats, BJP’s Pradeep Purohit said “The Odisha government has absolutely no data and is just politicising the issue.”