SAMBALPUR: Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti on Wednesday clarified that the Centre has little role in resolving the dispute arising out of the multi-purpose irrigation Polavaram project which has been accorded National Project status by the Central Government.
Bharti told mediapersons here that Odisha and Andhra Pradesh governments should settle this issue mutually. “This is an issue coming under the State subject. Both the governments should sit across the table and settle it among themselves. Polavaram is an ‘inter-State issue’ and that the Centre would not interfere in the matter,” she said.
It is not possible for the Centre to mediate on all issues. There should be no dispute over water over river Godavari over which the dam is being constructed, she added.
On proposed linking of Godavari-Mahanadi rivers , Bharti said Odisha will benefit from it in terms of irrigation to vast tracts of land along Rushikulya river. She said studies done by National Water Development Agency (NWDA) has shown that Mahanadi and Godavari basins are water surplus basins. If the project materialises, it will be the biggest game changer for Odisha and will solve problems of drinking water and irrigation, she added. Stating that Odisha receives 12 per cent of total rainfall in the country, Bharti said that in the absence of balanced utilisation, there is drought in one part of the State and floods in another. Proper water management could change the situation and balanced utilisation of water could add to the GDP, she added.
Admitting that all the old dam projects were functioning at 60 per cent utilisation capacity, Bharti said Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY) envisages improving the capacity utilisation through desiltation.