NUAPADA:Even as the Mahanadi water conflict has intensified between Odisha and Chhattisgarh with the former filing a petition with the Centre for setting up of a tribunal to resolve the dispute and direct Chhattisgarh to stop construction of barrages over the river with immediate effect, the neighbouring State has targeted other rivers and nullahs to augment irrigation there.
Reports said, there are several nullahs and rivers which originate in Chhattisgarh and flow into the district providing irrigation facility for farmers whose lands are located along it. These small water bodies, including Korkabhata nullah meets river Jonk and flows down to Bargarh before joining river Mahanadi.
The nullah originates at Sirgodi in Kendubahara panchayat of Nuapada district and flows down to Khalna in Aamanara panchayat of the district. From Khalna it moves to Khati in Chhattisgarh before re-entering Nuapada at Khalna to meet river Jonk. The Kokrabhata nullah is referred to as Natei nullah on its entry to Chhattisgarh and flows through Aamanara, Kendubahara and Sarabong panchayats providing irrigation to farmers of the three gram panchayats in the district.
All through it journey farmers have been tapping its water to irrigate their land in both the States. But, Water Resources Department of Chhattisgarh is constructing three check dams on Natei nullah which is bound to reflect on water availability in Nuapada district. The work, initiated in January this year under MGNREGS, is on in full swing.
The contention of Chhattisgarh Government is that it would strengthen irrigation. But it is bound to affect irrigation in Aamanara, Kendubahara and Sarabong panchayats in Nuapada who are dependent on the nullah. The farmers are apprehensive that once work on the check cams is over, water flow in the river will reduce and affect irrigation. Moreover, it will also obstruct flow of nullah’s water to river Jonk.
It is said that Chhattisgarh is also mooting constructing check dams/barrages on river Kondajuri in Chhattisgarh which flows down to Khariar Road before merging with river Jonk.
To add to the woes of the farmers of the district, Chhattisgarh Government has also installed 30 to 40 mega lift irrigation points on river Jonk. In the absence of any plan to augment irrigation in the district by Odisha Government, it is the farmers who are victims of repeated drought situation.
The fact that neither the State Government or the district administration is yet to wake up to the construction exposes the lack of concern of the State Government to the impending threat akin to construction of barrages on Mahanadi.