Kendrapara: Amidst tension, protests and controversies, the construction work of the mega drinking water project on Kharasrota River at Barunadiha area under Rajkanika block of Kendrapara district has been started.
The district administration has clamped Section 144 at the project site along with Balakati and Bharigada panchayats to avoid any kind of law and order situation. The restrictions imposed since 4:00am will be in force for an indefinite period.
The contractor farm started work amidst huge deployment of police force.
On the other hand, Congress leader Debendra Nath Sharma, BJP leader Dolagovinda Nayak, member of Kharasrota River Banchao Samiti Bidhan Das and hundreds of protestors were arrested as they were marching towards the construction site, ignoring restrictions imposed under Section 144.
Once completed, the project will provide drinking water to 91 panchayats in Bhadrak district. The residents of Aul and Rajkanika have been opposing the project since December 2019. They say that if the project starts, it will dry up the river and consequently give rise to drinking water issues, destroy agriculture in the locality and have a detrimental impact on Bhitarkanika National Park (BNP).
Notably, the mega drinking water is being executed under Basudha Yojana at a project cost of Rs 892 crore.