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Odisha govt to spend Rs 750 billion on water resources development

BS Reporter/Bhubaneswar 17 May 18 | 05:07 PM

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that his government intends to spend Rs 750 billion over the next five years on the development of water resources in Odisha.

Patnaik has also directed the water resources department to formulate a comprehensive policy on rivers within three months.

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The state government aims to construct a host of barrages on the Mahanadi river to store water that can cater to agriculture and drinking water needs of the people. The barrages will be built to ensure there are minimal or zero displacements.

The water resources department is working on a master plan to utilise Mahanadi river waters by building seven barrages on the river's downstream. Plans are also afoot to construct 22 more barrages on Mahanadi's tributaries and distributaries.

Notably, chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in a statement in the state assembly, had said that 52 per cent of Mahanadi water is drained into the Bay of Bengal.

Of the 48,732 million cubic metres of Mahanadi water which flows through Odisha, the state is able to utilize only 48 percent of (22,948 million cubic metres) of water while the remaining 25,783 million cubic metres of water is drained into the sea.

Odisha is engaged in a bitter feud with neighbouring Chhattisgarh over sharing of Mahanadi waters. The Odisha government protested BJP ruled Chhattisgarh's construction of six barrages on Mahanadi, stating this hindered the flow of the river waters in western districts where people were dependent on the river for their needs ranging from agriculture to drinking water to electricity generation.

On Wednesday, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha launched the 'Mahanadi Suraksha Abhijan'. Patnaik and other leaders of his party have launched a calibrated attack on the BJP led Centre and Chhattisgarh government for being partisan to Odisha's interests.

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