BHUBANESWAR: The Centre’s bid to revive the Mahanadi-Godavari river link project has come in for sharp criticism from different quarters, including the Opposition Congress, as it would submerge a large area because of construction of a dam at the upstream of Manibhadra.
Though the State Government is yet to respond to the Centre’s proposal in this regard, the Water Resources Ministry has already announced that a special purpose vehicle will be created to expedite the link project.
The project came under spotlight again after a team from the Water Resources Ministry made a power point presentation on Mahanadi-Godavari link project in presence of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Secretariat on May 30, 2015.
The Central team maintained that the link would irrigate 4.43 lakh hectare (ha) of land, including 3.52 lakh ha in Southern districts of Odisha, generate 445 MW electricity and control flood. The project proposes to divert Mahanadi water to Godavari by impounding water at Manibhadra and four more barrages upstream of Manibhadra. The link canal will pass through Nayagarh, Khurda, Ganjam and Gajapati districts and join river Godavari at Dolaiswaram.
Official sources said the Chief Minister has directed Water Resources Department to examine feasibility of the proposal and submit a report.
Criticising the haste in which the Centre is trying to impose the project on Odisha, Tapan Padhi and Bibhuti Pati of National Institute for Development (NID) maintained that the Government should reject the proposal as it would not benefit the State.
Leader of the Opposition Narsingh Mishra in a letter to the Chief Minister wanted to know whether the State Government is planning to construct another dam on Mahanadi at Manibhadra for implementation of the river link project. Mishra said according to the Government, there is no proposal to go for a second dam on Mahanadi now. Mishra alleged that there will be largescale submergence in case a second dam is constructed at Manibhadra. Such a proposal was dropped by the State Government in the past because of protest, he said.