Joda: The Tata group has started dismantling the dam it had been illegally constructing across the Suna river near Khandabandh in the Bhuyan Roida panchayat of Joda block in Keonjhar district.
The public and many other organisations had strongly opposed construction of the dam as the company had built it without getting the approval of the Palli Sabha. This newspaper carried a report June 4, 2018.
After protests by locals, members of the Mahanadi Banchao Andolan Manch, Agami Odisha and the Barbil Civil Society visited the area and found an intake-well and a water conservation system being constructed by the company on the riverbed.
Suna is known as the lifeline of Joda. Collecting water from the river without government approval and the consent of the gram sabha is completely illegal, locals said.
Some locals said the dam being built by the company would affect 50,000 people in Bhuyan Roida, Kandara and Birikala, apart from affecting the flow of water to the Kanpur irrigation project across Baitarani.
Orissa Post had carried reports about this in the first week of September, 2018.
The company had built an intake well near the dam to use its water for mining and industrial activities. This substantially reduced the river’s flow.
People of Bhuyan Roida, Kundurupani, Keth Hutting, Makad hutting, Baru Hutting and Ward 14 of Joda Municipality had staged protests and had destroyed the company’s assets due to this.
The company then filed an FIR against some locals. After the violence, the company laid off some local workers too. Later, some organisations took up the issue with the company’s office in Bhubaneswar.
The Mining Officer of the company (Khadabandh), Mukesh Ranjan, had said that the dam was being built with the approval of the Water Resources Department.
However, the protesting organisations said the dam will affect the Kanpur irrigation project on the Baitarani River.
After the protests the company started dismantling the dam February 1. The Communication Officer of the Tata firm, Sunil Kumar Sahu, said the construction of the dam was rectified and a tank is being built in its place.
Social activist Sudarshan Das said that the Suna should be allowed to flow unobstructed as it is the lifeline of the people and forests.