ROURKELA: Even as the BJD Government is opposing Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river issue, it has maintained silence on the lurking threat to river Brahmani at its point of origin in Rourkela due to Jharkhand’s hydro power proposals on its two main tributaries.
Threat to Brahmani will have an impact on Rourkela city and Sundargarh district as water holding capacity of the river gets reduced from November to July in the absence of rain. Under these circumstances, the BJP-led Jharkhand Government’s move would further affect irrigation and water supply to local industries in Sundargarh, which is the Parliamentary constituency of Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram. Brahmani’s main tributaries __ rivers Sankh and Koel __ emerge from Jharkhand and meet at Rourkela to form Brahmani, one of the major inter-State rivers, which further flows towards Deogarh and beyond.
Jharkhand Chief Minister Raghubar Das on August 12 approved RFP to produce 126 MW electricity at 14 places on PPP mode. Of these, two projects of 17 MW are proposed on river Koel and three projects of 66 MW would come up on river Sankh. The Water Resources department of Government of Odisha had in June sought information from its Jharkhand counterpart about its proposals on river Brahmani.
During Odisha bandh on August 16 over Mahanadi issue, Rourkela District Congress Committee president Biren Senapati had protested Jharkhand’s proposals, but it failed to draw the attention of the State Government.
While Jual refused to comment claiming that he was unaware of Jharkhand’s proposal, the RDA Chairman and former BJD Minister Sarada Prasad Nayak said the proposed hydro electricity projects in Jharkhand would check water flow of Sankh and Koel.