Projects on upper Mahanadi will not affect Hirakud dam: C’garh minister

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the ongoing row between the Odisha and Chhattisgarh governments on the issue of sharing of Mahanadi water, Chhattisgarh Water Resources minister Brijmohan Agrawal today claimed that construction of projects on the upper catchments of Mahanadi will not have any adverse impact on the Hirakud dam.

“There will be no shortage of water in the Hirakud reservoir. The Central Water Commission (CWC) has observed that there is so much of water in Mahanadi during the rainy season that it requires at least three dams like the Hirakud to conserve the river water. The Odisha government should think about proper utilization of Mahanadi water as nearly three times the volume of water goes to the sea,”Agrawal told OTV today.

Assuring that the Chhattisgarh government will never act against the interests of Odisha, he said the structures on the upper catchments of Mahanadi are being built with CWC specifications and approval.

Agrawal said the BJD government in Odisha and the chief minister are trying to create panic among the people without any rhyme or reason instead of having a discussion with the Chhattisgarh government. “Political leaders are used to such gimmicks ahead of elections,” he pointed out.

He further said his government would fully cooperate with the BJD delegation during its visit to Chhattisgarh.

In his reaction, BJD spokesperson Amar Satpathy said the statement of the Chhattisgarh minister is like adding salt to the wounds of the people of Odisha.

“If the barrages are constructed in the upper catchments of Mahanadi, the water level of Hirakud dam will remain below normal, which will adversely affect the agriculture and hydro power generation in Odisha. The Chhattisgarh government must abide by the inter-state river sharing rules framed by the Centre,” he said.

Sambalpur MLA Dr Raseswari Panigrahi said the people of 15 districts of Odisha solely depend on Mahanadi for irrigation.

Stating that the Hirakud dam was built to provide irrigation facility, generate hydropower and regulate floods in Odisha, she said the allegation of the Chhattisgarh minister that the state government is politicizing the issue is baseless.

Meanwhile, the OTV team arrived at the Arpa-Bhaisanjhar area of Chhattisgarh today for a ground report on the ongoing construction of a barrage. The team found that nearly 50 percent of the construction work of the barrage has already been completed.

The team, during its visit interacted with the villagers who said they are not happy with the upcoming project.

“This barrage will not benefit us as we have lost our land for it,” said a man living close to the project site.

Union minister of state for Water Resources and River Development Dr Sanjeev Kumar Balyan had said in the Lok Sabha yesterday that the Chhattisgarh government had started the construction work of the barrage without the permission of the CWC.

The project, estimated to cost Rs 606.43 crores, would meet the irrigation water needs of about 92 villages and benefit more than one lakh farmers of Chhattisgarh. The barrage would irrigate 25,000 hectares of area during the kharif season.

The project, which began in 2013, is scheduled to be completed by September 12 this year.