SUNDARGARH:Two Congress MLAs of Sundargarh district have pledged support to intensify fight to save Mahanadi and Ib rivers which are fast drying up due to several barrage projects in Chhattisgarh.
At a preparatory meeting of Mahanadi and Ib Nadi Suraksha Samiti at Circuit House in Sundargarh town on Tuesday, Talsara MLA Prafulla Majhi and his Sundargarh counterpart Yogesh Singh vowed to intensify stir to save the two rivers. Majhi and three others were also made conveners of Sundargarh unit of the Samiti.
Majhi said Ib river enters the district at Telijor village in Balishankara block from Chhattisgarh and after covering Sundargarh and Talsara Assembly constituencies, reaches Jharsuguda before merging with Mahanadi. The Chhattisgarh Government has constructed a barrage on the upstream of Ib river while two more projects are coming up. Due to these projects, the river remains dry throughout the year except monsoon, the MLA said.
He further said a mass protest will be launched with help of the affected villages and panchayats to stop Chhattisgarh Government from obstructing water to Odisha. The Odisha Government should immediately construct adequate number of barrages on the downstream of Ib river in Sundargarh and Jharsuguda districts, Majhi said.
Criticising the State Government for shelving a barrage project on Ib at Telijor for want of required funds, he alleged that the ruling BJD has no qualms in wasting funds in the name of promoting and preserving tribal cultures through Special Development Council for Tribes and other programmes which are originally meant to rehabilitate party workers.
Sundargarh MLA Yogesh Singh also criticised the Chhattisgarh Government for its ‘inhuman’ attitude. “Jharsuguda Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das has been made the chairman of the campaign committee of the Samiti. Together, we will fight to save Mahanadi and Ib,” he said.
Sources in Ib Investigation Division of Water Resources department informed that a low-height barrage-cum-bridge proposal on Ib river at Kopsingha in Sundargarh has been given a quiet burial after five years.
Currently, the district administration is constructing an ‘In-Stream Storage’ on Ib from its own fund of `50 crore. Similarly, another barrage proposal on Ib at Deogaon in Jharsuguda district has been shelved and is now being converted into ‘In-Stream Storage’.