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Bhubaneswar, July 4: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in ensuring that the construction of a barrage by the Chhattisgarh government on the Mahanadi’s upper catchment area stops.
“I would request your good office to advise the Chhattisgarh government to immediately stop the unilateral construction of major structures across the Mahanadi,” wrote Patnaik to Modi in a letter, adding, “Your intervention will help safeguard the interests of millions of farmers of our state, for whom the Mahanadi river system is the lifeline.”
Patnaik said the Chhattisgarh government’s action indicates “an intention to use all the available yield of the Mahanadi”. He said the Chhattisgarh government is engaged in execution of the Ambaguda diversion project, Salka diversion project, Lachhanpur diversion project, including Arpa-Bhaisajhar Barrage project. “Two new projects such as Pairy-Mahanadi intra-state link project and Tandula Reservoir Augmentation scheme on the Mahanadi, having an adverse impact on the flow of water to Hirakud Reservoir, are being proposed by the Chhattisgarh government,” wrote Patnaik.
“The Chhattisgarh government is also contemplating construction of a reservoir-based dam on the Kelo river adjacent to the Orissa boarder… Seven diversion weirs across the Arpa (a tributary of the Seonath, which is a tributary of the Mahanadi), including projects at Khongasara, Salka and Bilaspur, have already been constructed,” wrote the CM.
Stating that such unilateral moves are “extremely unfortunate” in a federal system. Patnaik said the moves hamper the interests of the people of Orissa. “We are shocked that a central agency like Central Water Commission (CWC) has remained silent on the issue… Being the nodal agency, they are expected to be neutral and play a proactive role in safeguarding the interests of farmers of the riparian state of Orissa,” Patnaik stressed, adding that the Mahanadi contributes maximum irrigation in Orissa.
Patnaik further said the Chhattisgarh government’s move to take up the projects unilaterally would affect the lives and livelihoods of the farmers of fifteen districts in Orissa. These districts are Bargarh, Jharsugurda, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Sonepur, Boudh, Angul, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Puri, Nayagarh and Khurda.
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