Kendrapara: The protest against the mega drinking water project on Kharasrota River in Kendrapara district took a violent turn Thursday with the police and agitators resorting to use of force. Several people have been injured in the incident, it was learnt.
According to a local, the agitation put up by the residents of Aul and Rajkanika areas entered the fourth day Thursday. Hundreds of agitating locals including children and elderly under the banner of ‘Kharasrota River Banchao Samiti’ Thursday morning gathered at a place to take out a rally to the project site at Barunadiha under Rajkanika block of Kendrapara district.
In the meantime, police reached the spot and a face-off ensued, leaving many injured.
Subsequently, the agitators staged a roadblock on Chandbali road at Achyutpur area of Rajkanika block. They also detained the vehicles going to the project site, it was learnt.
The controversial project, which is being executed at a cost of Rs 892 crore under Basudha Yojana, aims to provide drinking water to 91 panchayats in Bhadrak district upon completion.
The people of Aul and Rajkanika areas, however, have been opposing the project tooth and nail. They feel once 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).
Meanwhile, the administration pressed ahead with the construction work August 10 after clamping Section 144 at the project site along with Balakati and Bharigada panchayats to avoid any kind of law and order situation. The restrictions imposed under Section 144 will be in force for an indefinite period, it was then said.