Chandbali: The state’s biggest drinking water project being set up in Chandbali area of Bhadrak has hit a roadblock with locals opposing its treatment plant on government land.
The mega project, which entails an investment of nearly Rs 1,000 crore, is aimed at providing safe drinking water to 1 lakh families in four blocks where people have been facing problems due to saline water.
The project will benefit a major part of the Chandbali Assembly constituency.
However, the ambitious project has initially hit the roadblock as some people are opposing the use of a patch of government land for a water treatment plant at Nayahat.
Another problem has cropped up from Kharashrota Banchao Andolan, an outfit which is up against using the water of the river for the project.
Reports said, Chandbali area is close to the coast. Sinking of tube wells in the coastal pocket is costly while tube wells go kaput due to saline nature of water.
Groundwater is also saline and people find it unfit for drinking.
The only means to ensure safe and freshwater is treatment of the river water. Salandi, Baitarani and Mantei rivers flow on the outskirts of Chandbali. However, their water is salty in nature for about seven months a year, locals said.
Under this project, water will be brought from Kharashrota river in neighbouring Kendrapara district, treated at a plant and supplied to people.
Chandbali MLA Byomkesh Ray said freshwater is available about 100 ft underneath the ground and sinking tube wells is a costly affair for people. “There was a need for such a drinking water project. Drinking water problem will be removed with people availing taped water at their doorstep,” he observed.
Notably, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had laid the foundation stone for the project in 2019. Its works have started in October. Boundary wall of the water treatment plant was half completed while iron pipes are to be laid underground.
People at Nayahat opposed the project at a patch of government land.
In different times, the Collector, the ADM and the PD had visited the areas and held talks with people to spare the land. But locals are firm on their opposition to the project.
However, despite opposition from locals, construction of the boundary wall is in progress on a patch of 7.46 acres of government land.
Ramkrushna Mishra, the executive engineer of the RWSS, exuded hope that the project will be completed in time with cooperation from locals.
A total of 91 panchayats, including 36 in Chandbali, 20 in Tihidi, 25 in Basudevpur and 10 in Dhamnagar will get drinking water. Pipeline on 2.30 km will be laid in 576 villages. 98 overhead tanks will be set up at different places with provision of 24X7 drinking water supply.
The preliminary estimate of the project was pegged at Rs 892 crore. Megha Engineering, a construction agency, was awarded the work.