Mahanadi Under Chhattisgarh Control! Chhatisgarh Plans to Construct 1802 More Projects Barrages on Mahanadi Basin

Odisha Victim of Conspiracy; Description Chhattisgarh Completes 2,365 Projects in Mahanadi Basin, 1802 More Projects to Come up

New Delhi: Odisha, which is already hit by Chhattisgarh’s unilateral decision to build to a number of water arresting structures in the Mahanadi upstream, is going to be a victim of yet another the conspiracy on river Mahanadi.

If sources are to be believed, as high as 4,000 projects are likely to be constructed in the entire Mahanadi Basin by the Chhatisgarh Government which is likely to cause acute scarcity of water in the lower riparian state and time is not so far when millions of people depending on the river for their lives and livelihoods will be left stranded.

As many as 2365 projects have already  been constructed across Mahanadi and its tributaries till date. This has been revealed by Minister of State for Jal Shakti & Social Justice and Employment Rattan Lal Kataria in the Rajya Sabha on June 15 citing information receiving from the Chhattisgarh Government. what is more worrying for Odisha is the fact that the neighbouring state has proposed 1802 more projects in Mahanadi Basin taking the overall project tally near to 4,000.

River Mahanadi has been a bone of contention between Odisha and Chhattisgarh for the last three years, following the construction of six barrages by the latter, thereby blocking the flow of water to downstream. The six barrages which includes Kalma, Saradihi, Mironi, Basantpur, Seorinarain and Samoda  situated just 100 kilometre away from Odisha have been built by Chhattisgarh across Mahanadi upstream purportedly for using the river water for industrial purposes.

Besides, construction of several projects on the tributaries of Mahanadi have been seriously affected inflow into the Hirakud reservoir in Odisha, more so in the non-monsoon seasons. Opposing it, the Odisha Government had filed a suit before the Supreme Court for restraining Chhattisgarh from continuing construction and operation of six industrial barrages and taking up any future project. Presently, the matter is sub-judice before the Mahanadi Water Disputes Tribunal. However, there is no interim order to stop project works across Mahanadi upstream.

Chhattisgarh is now planning to construct 1802 projects in the Mahanadi Basin. These projects are under the consideration of Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of Ministry of Jal Shakti after being approved by the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority Chhattisgarh, informed Kataria in the Rajya Sabha.

Odisha Rajya Sabha MP Prasanna Acharya sought detailed information from the Minister regarding construction of dam on Mahanadi by the Chhattisgarh Government.

The BJD MP demanded information about number of water arresting structures that have been constructed and proposed for construction by Chhattisgarh Government across Mahanadi and its tributaries.

He also wanted to know whether Chhattisgarh Government has obtained clearance/concurrence from Central Government and Odisha Government prior to construction of such structures on the inter-state river basin of Mahanadi.

In response to the queries, the Union Minister said that water Resources Projects are planned, funded, executed and maintained by the State Governments themselves as per their own resources and priority.

In order to supplement their efforts, Government of India provides technical and financial assistance to State Governments to encourage sustainable development and efficient management of water resources through various schemes and programmes, he said.

However, the Minister said that the water sharing dispute between the two states is sub-judice before the Tribunal. His response came in reply to a question whether Chhattisgarh Government has considered the lower riparian requirement of Odisha in Mahanadi water while planning its water sector development on Mahanadi basin.

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