MALKANGIRI:Power generation at OHPC-run Balimela unit is likely to be affected in the coming days as the flow of water from Chitrakonda dam to Andhra Pradesh goes unregulated and water level of the reservoir has come down drastically.
Sources said Chitrakonda-based Balimela Earth Dam Division had awarded renovation work of the reservoir at an estimated cost of `one crore to a private construction agency in May last year. During the renovation work, all the eight gates of the dam, including two Andhra Pradesh tunnels, were closed and an alternative gate was opened for supplying water to AP a month back. As per the agreement between Odisha and AP, water of the reservoir is shared on 50:50 ratio every year. The renovation work was completed in February.
When the new gate was opened, the flow of water was 7,500 cusec which was more than the amount required to flow. Later, the Balimela dam engineers managed to bring down the flow of water to 3,200 cusec. If the flow of water continues at the present pace, water level in Chitrakonda dam will come down in summer drastically affecting power generation in Balimela power house, OHPC engineers apprehended. The OHPC engineers alleged that acting on a letter of the Executive Engineer, Civil (O&M) Division-I, Upper Silleru, Visakhapatnam district, the Chitrakonda Executive Engineer has further increased the amount of water released to 7,000 cusec recently without approval of the joint water body meeting.
Sources said Andhra Pradesh has already taken 26 thousand million cubic (TMC) more water last year than its 50 per cent share and the unchecked flow of water has aggravated the situation. Meanwhile, people of Chitrakonda have urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who holds the Water Resources portfolio, to probe into the issue. They alleged that some engineers of Balimela are involved in the irregularities. When contacted, Executive Engineer of Balimela Dam Project Adhikary Sailendra Narayan Dash admitted the increased amount of water released based on his Upper Sileru counterpart’s letter and said the roller bearer has not been working since long.