Senior Odisha BJP leader and Oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan has requested Union Water Resources minister Uma Bharti to advice Chattisgarh government to ensure free flow of water in Mahanandi river. “I will request you to advice the government of Chhattisgarh for immediate opening of the gates of Kalma barrage to ensure free flow of water in Mahanadi river to mitigate the suffering of the people of Odisha,” Pradhan wrote to Uma Bharati yesterday. Pradhan said: “It is stated that non-monsoon flow into Hirakud reservoir received from the upper catchment of Mahanadi basin is showing a significant downward trend.”
“The percentage reduction has alarmingly gone upto 78 per cent in the month of May, 2017. This stop of flow has caused severe anguish situation in the downstream areas, thus affecting the water needs in peak summer month,” Pradhan mentioned in the letter. This is contrary to the interest of the people of Odisha, Pradhan said adding that it is apprehended that if this trend is allowed to continue, there will be near stoppage of flow of water into Hirakud reservoir and in all likelihood will cause great loss to the reservoir and the downward catchment areas of Odisha.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on June 6 in a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi had sought his intervention for immediate constitution of the tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute. “I also urge for your goodself, being head of the federal system, to intervene by instructing the upstream state of Chhattisgarh to stop the construction of barrages on Mahanadi river and to open the gates of Kalma and other barrages to maintain the free flow of water downstream which is rightful claim of my state of Odisha and its inhabitants,” Patnaik had said.