Odisha seeks PM's intervention over Chhattisgarh's project on Mahanadi

Bhubaneswar:  Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to advise the Chhattisgarh government immediately to stop the unilateral construction of dams across Mahanadi river. In a letter to the Prime Minister, he said the projects would adversely affect the interests of the farmers of Odisha. "As you are aware Mahanadi is the lifeline of Odisha and it contributes maximum irrigation in our state. Lives and livelihood of the farmers of fifteen districts are fully dependent on Mahanadi. In fact, River Mahanadi has a direct impact on more than 50 per cent of our population and indirectly through subsidiaries the Mahanadi System has an impact on around 65 percent of the population of our state," said Patnaik. Drawing the attention of the Prime Minister about the major unilateral acts of the Chhattisgarh government, he said several major construction activities have been carried out across Mahanadi river. "Seven pick-up weirs across river Mahanadi just upstream of the Hirakud Dam such as Saradi weir and Kalama weir. Seven numbers of diversion weirs across river Arpa (a tributary of river Seonath, which again is a tributary of river Mahanadi) such as Khongasara Project, Salka Project and Bilaspur project have already been constructed," said Patnaik. Besides, Ambaguda Diversion Project, Salka Diversion Project, Lachhanpur Diversion Project including Arpa-Bhaisajhar Barrage Project are under execution, he added. Two new projects such as Pairy-Mahanadi Intra State Link Project and Tandula Reservoir Augmentation Scheme on Mahanadi River Project having a severe adverse impact on the flow of water in Hirakud Reservoir are being proposed by the government, said the Chief Minister. Noting that the Chhatisgarh government is also contemplating construction of a reservoir-based dam in Kelo River adjacent to Odisha border, he said: "This is extremely unfortunate that in a federal system, the interests of the people of Odisha have been completely neglected. We are shocked that a central agency like the Central Water Commission has remained silent on this issue."  "I would request your good office to advise the Chhattisgarh Government to immediately stop the unilateral construction of such major structures across Mahanadi. I have faith that your kind intervention will help in safeguarding the interests of the millions of farmers of our state for whom Mahanadi River System is the lifeline," Patnaik said in his letter.