PADAMPUR (BARGARH):After a long lull, villagers of Lakhmara on Wednesday opposed the location of Ong irrigation project at Pujharipali and launched fast-unto-death. At least 14 villagers are staging the protest being supported by locals of Chardapali, Saraikela and Lakhmara gram panchayats including women and children.
This apart, they are also demanding construction of bridge over river Ong at Lakhmara besides development of road and infrastructure in local high school. Although Padampur Sub-Collector Tapiram Majhi and SDPO Laxmi Narayan Panda reached the spot and tried to break the deadlock, they refused to budge from their stand.
The project over river Ong has been proposed to be constructed near Pujharipali village, 15 kms from Padamapur. The project envisages construction of 7.48 kms long earth dam with spillway across river Ong having total catchment area of 2,321 sqkm. Out of which, 1282 sqkm lies in Odisha and the rest 1039 sqkm in Chhattisgarh. The project will submerge 230.13 hectares (ha) of land.
After completion, it will extend irrigation facility to 30,000 ha of land in drought-prone areas Padmapur, Sohela, Bijepur, Gaisilat blocks in Bargarh district and Agalpur block in Balangir district.
The foundation stone for the project was laid four times between 1945 and 1985 at two different places. But the project continues to hang in fire till date with villagers divided over the project.