BHUBANESWAR: Even as the BJD pushes for a massive campaign against the Centre and Chhattisgarh over Mahanadi river water dispute, its own ministers keep sending conflicting messages over a vital issue - whether power generation from Hirakud dam reservoir has reduced due to the alleged reduced flow in the river.
According to Water Resources Minister Niranjan Pujari, reduced flow in Mahanadi river due to construction in the upper end of the river has affected power generation whereas Energy Minister Sushant Singh says power production has increased during the last three years.
Non-monsoon flow in Mahanadi river due to construction of barrages and dams by Chhattisgarh reduced by 41 per cent in November 2016, 33 per cent in December 2016, 28 per cent in March 2017, 73 per cent in April 2017 and 78 per cent in May 2017, Pujari’s information to the State Assembly said. He also maintained that water flow in Mahanadi has reduced by 40 per cent since November, 2017. Due to proper management of water in the reservoir, irrigation has not been affected. However, reduced flow has affected power generation, he said and added that if the trend continues, it will affect agriculture as well as power generation severely.
However, in reply to questions from BJP MLA Dilip Ray, Energy Minister Singh said power generation in Hirakud went up from 2015-16. Energy production increased at Hirakud from 457 million units in 2015-16 to 535.88 million units in 2016-17 before reaching 614.29 million unit mark in 2017-18.Statistics provided by the State Government during the session revealed that power production increased at Chiplima during the same period.