Odisha staring at parched summer as Kalma barrage continues to throttle Mahanadi

Bhubaneswar: There has been a significant dip in the water level of Hirakud dam as most gates of Kalma barrage built by Chhattisgarh on Mahanadi River continue to remain closed.

While the water level inside the dam should remain at 630 feet till October 31, it has now dipped to 627 feet.

According to sources, Chhattisgarh has closed 64 gates out of 66 and if the rest of them will be shut in the upcoming summer season, then it is feared that water supply to Odisha will completely stop.

Currently, 3500 cubic metres of water is reaching the lower catchment areas of Hirakud dam through two gates of the Kalma Barrage following which rule curve has been affected.

Expressing displeasure over declining water level, Chief engineer of Hirakud dam, Jyotirmaya Rath said “We will be severely affected if they shut down all the gates of Kalma barrage.”

As the water level has dipped in the upper catchment areas, power generation and irrigation could be severely affected.

Meanwhile, Chhattisgarh has refuted the charges and instead blamed rainfall deficit for a dip in the water level of Hirakud dam.

“Chhattisgarh is not stopping any water. Kalma’s capacity is so low that opening or closing of the gates doesn’t affect anything,” Chhattisgarh Water Resources Minister, Brij Mohan Agarwal said.

“If both the states don’t come to an agreement over the issue, a big problem will arise in the future,” farmer leader Saroj said.

Meanwhile, the tribunal constituted to resolve the Mahanadi water-sharing dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh commenced its hearing on October 13. The opponents can file responses to the application by December 1 and in case of a rejoinder, applications can be filed before December 14, 2018.

The next hearing of the case is scheduled to take place on December 15.

 

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