Bargarh canal yet to get Hirakud water

The dry Hirakud dam reservoirThere is not enough water in the Hirakud dam reservoir for irrigation. Every year water is released from the reservoir through Sason canal, Bargarh main canal and Sambalpur distributary on June 16 for farmers to facilitate agricultural activities for the kharif crop. But with water level dropping to an alarming low of 593.65 feet, the Irrigation Department released just 200 cusecs of water into the Sason Canal on Monday. No water was released to Bargarh main canal and Samablpur distributary.

As per the working table formulated jointly by Energy Department and Water Resources Department during pre-monsoon period, the water level should be at a minimum of 595 feet.

However, with not much rain reported ever since monsoon arrived in the State, the situation at the reservoir has reached an alarming level.

In 2005, the water discharge was delayed by 12 days and for 17 days in 2006. It had triggered widespread agitation by farmers who suspected that water was being diverted to industries from the reservoir.

Subsequently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik after a discussion with farmers declared that ‘not a single drop of water meant for irrigation would be diverted to industries’. He had even announced a package of ` 200 crore for renovation of the canal and dredging to enhance the water capacity of HDR. For the next three years – 2008, 2009 and 2010 – water was released into the canal in time due to dredging while in 2011 timely monsoon ensured smooth release of water. Last year, there was a delay in releasing water due to delay in monsoon.

Farmer leader Ashok Pradhan alleged that industries draw water from the reservoir which has led to the problem. He demanded a high-level inquiry.

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