Bhubaneswar: The water level in Mahanadi River has decreased during the non-monsoon period and it will decrease further in the coming years as Chhattisgarh has stopped the water flow by constructing barrages on the river, Water Resources Minister Raghunandan Das said, Thursday.
In a written reply to a question, the minister said Chhattisgarh has constructed several barrages in the up-stream of Mahanadi to stop water.
Due to this the water flow in the largest river of Odisha is declining constantly during the non-monsoon period. However, Chhattisgarh has sufficient water in the river, he said.
Das also apprised the House that the state government had lodged a statutory complaint with the Central Government in 2016 urging for a solution. In response, the Centre had constituted Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal (MWDT) in 2018.
Later, the state government filed an IA with the Tribunal to ensure sufficient water flow to the Hirakud reservoir during non-monsoon period, the minister stated. Now, the matters relating to the Mahanadi water dispute are sub-judice with the MWDT.
Later talking to the media outside the House, Das said, “CWC has returned seven out of the 15 project reports (feasibility and DPR) as cases are pending in the Tribunal. The projects have been stayed.
As the matter is sub-judice with the Tribunal, CWC has sent back those reports. A previous standing order of the Apex Court is in force and, as a result, the projects have been stayed.”
Asked about why the state government is not constructing barrages in the down-stream, the minister stated, “There isn’t any problem for us to build barrages and store water in the downstream of Mahanadi. But, since several barrages have been built in the upper stream, the downstream will automatically dry up.”
The last hearing of Mahanadi Water Dispute Tribunal was conducted February 6 this year. The tribunal has asked Chhattisgarh to file its response to the counter proposal sent by Odisha for the release of 1.002 million acre feet (MAF) of water flow during non-monsoon period, within three weeks.
In November last year, Chhattisgarh had proposed to release around 0.4 MAF water to Odisha during non-monsoon months.
However, the state government had rejected the proposal citing that the Mahanadi water flow to Odisha before the commencement of hearing was around 0.8 MAF.