Human Chain to Stop Water Use by Posco

Members of Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday formed a human chain in protest against the Government decision to allow Posco to draw water from river Hansua.

Published: 20th May 2014 10:13 AM  |   Last Updated: 20th May 2014 10:13 AM   |  A+A-

CPI-members

PARADIP: Members of Communist Party of India (CPI) on Monday formed a human chain in protest against the Government decision to allow Posco to draw water from river Hansua. The human chain was formed at Nagari bridge on Hansua at Ersama.

Secretary of district unit of CPI Sasibhusan Swain said while farmers of Ersama do not get sufficient water for agriculture, it is unfortunate that Government has overlooked their cause to favour Posco. “It is an anti-farmer stand of the Government”, he said.

Water Resources Department this month gave permission to the South Korean Steel major to draw water from Mahanadi and Hansua in two phases. While Posco will draw water from Mahanadi to cater to the drinking water needs of its township, water from Hansua will be used to take up construction work of its steel project.

According to official reports, Posco would draw 3,400 cusecs of water from river Hansua from June 16, 2016 to December, 2018 for construction of its proposed steel plant. The company will draw 138,000 cusecs of water from Mahanadi at Jobra barrage in Cutack for the project work.

Anti-Posco leader Abhaya Sahoo, who led the human chain, said the agitation will intensify in days to come as leaders of different political parties will join it.

Local farmers fear scarcity of water for cultivation if water is diverted for industrial use. Farmers of Biridi, Raghunathpur, Jagatsinghpur, Tirtol, Ersama and Balikuda depend upon Hansua for cultivation of vegetable, sunflower, groundnut, mustard and paddy crops. During kharif season, they use water from Hansua for transplantation of paddy in the event of scanty rainfall or delay in supply of irrigation water through canals and lift irrigation (LI) points.

Initially, the South Korean company had sought 125 cusec water from Mahanadi for construction purposes. Though Water Resources Department in 2006 had accorded permission to draw water from Mahanadi at Jobra barrage, it had later asked Posco to look for an alternative water source amid widespread protest from organisations like Mahanadi Bachao Samiti, Nab Nirman Krushak Sangthan, NGOs and local farmers.

Accordingly, Posco India had engaged a consultancy firm to work out alternative water sources. Later, the company requested the department to allocate water from Mahanadi for drinking purposes and from Hansua river for construction work.



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