BHUBANESWAR: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today claimed the state government's decision to provide river water to Posco's proposed mega steel project near Paradip would neither affect irrigation nor drinking water supply to the people of Cuttack district.
"The decision to provide water to the Posco project was taken considering the amount of water being flown from upper head of the river. This would not affect irrigation or create problems for drinking water," Patnaik said replying to a written question of Congress MLA Prakash Chandra Behera in the state Assembly.
Patnaik said water released from Hirakud and Indravati dams flow through a barrage at Jobra near Cuttack. The amount of water being flown through Jobra barrage would meet all the water requirement of the area, he said.
Justifying the government's decision, he said barrages are constructed over rivers to increase water level for releasing water to the down stream through canals. This is a diversion head work.
"According to the government's water policy, water is provided according to priorities like drinking purpose, ecology, irrigation, hydro-electricity generation and industrial requirements," Patnaik said.
The Congress law-maker raised the question in the back drop of the opposition to supply of water to Posco from Mahanadi river system by different organisations.
Organisations like Mahanadi Bachao Andolan and Naba Nirman Krushak Sangathan have opposed the move to supply water to Posco which would require 125 cusecs of water per day.
"On an average, about 4,000 to 5,000 cusecs of water flows down to the Bay of Bengal from the Mahanadi river system daily through Jobra barrage. But, Posco needs only 125 cusecs water," a senior official at the water resources department said.
To another question, Patnaik said the state government has set a target of irrigating 66,497.04 hectares of agricultural land through a barrage at Jobra.