RAIPUR: Indravati river, regarded as the lifeline of Bastar in south Chhattisgarh, is facing the worst ever crisis this summer with the iconic Chitrakoot waterfall ceasing to spew water completely.The Chitrakoot waterfall in Jagdalpur, the district headquarter of Bastar, is known as the ‘Small Niagara Falls’ for the voluminous discharge throughout the year. It is for the first time that it has gone dry.
“No one here in living memory recalls the waterfall going dry in the past. Concerned locals are coming together to launch a campaign to save the Indravati as they fear the river may be lost and consequently aggravate the deep water crisis in the region,” said Padma Shri Dharampal Saini, a Bastar resident leading the campaign.
Thousands of tourists flock to see the Chitrakoot waterfall every year. The waterfall is entirely dependent on the Indravati river, which originates at Mardiguda in Odisha’s Kalahandi district and enters Chattisgarh near Bhejapadar in Jagdalpur covering some 164 km. After traversing 265 km in Bastar zone-cutting through Jagdalpur-Dantewada-Bijapur, the river enters Telangana. The fall was recently re-watered on a small scale through the local Kosateda dam.
“The depletion of water levels in Indravati is alarming. This has aggravated the water crisis in the region. The Odisha government is indifferent to our pleas and is not releasing the requisite 42 TMC water from the dam to the river as per an agreement signed in 1985 between the then CMs of Odisha and undivided Madhya Pradesh,” said Dharmendra Mahapatra, a local.