Tag Archives: Hirakud dam

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.

Tourism proposals for Sambalpur hanging fire

The promises made by the State Government to promote tourism sector in Sambalpur have remained confined to pen and paper.None of the proposals has materialised yet.

As per the proposals, the second zoo of the State was supposed to come up at Laxmi Dungri Hill, a place between Burla and Sambalpur on the bank of river Mahanadi, here.

It was announced by the Chief Minister himself in the Assembly nearly 10 years back. Last year, the Government planned to request the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to expedite the process to set up the zoo.But, as on today, no one is sure about the progress of the project.

On January 17 last year, five proposals had been sent under Mega Destination Development (MDD) for development of tourist spots in and around Hirakud reservoir, erection of rope-way in Sambalpur town besides development of Samaleswari temple.

The proposals included beautification of three islands in Hirakud reservoir along the right dyke, creation of gardens, picnic facilities, parking and kiosks upto entrance of Debrigarh Wildlife Sanctuary and motor launch facility at ‘Zero Point’ along the dyke for visiting the Sanctuary through waterway.

This apart, there were proposals for erection of ropeway connecting Budharaja Hill and Brooks Hill touching two major attractions of the town with famous Budharaja temple on one side and Wildlife Conservation Centre on the other.

Similarly, landscaping near the famous leaning temple at Huma and construction of hanging bridge of about 180 metres long connecting the temple with the nearby river island under the Destination Scheme were proposed.

Construction of public convenience centre, garden and deep borewell at Kandhara in Rairakhol sub-division of the district which is the birthplace of poet Bhima Bhoi was also mooted under the Destination Scheme.But more than a year after, there has been little development on these works.

District Tourist Officer Sanatan Naik said the State Government has already sent the proposals to the Ministry of Tourism but has not received any reply till date.

Water discharged from Hirakud

Customary discharge of water from Hirakud dam was undertaken on Tuesday by opening one of the reservoir’s gates. The dam authority said it is obligatory to discharge water from the reservoir between July and September to ensure space for heavy inflow of rain water from the catchment areas. But since there was less water in the reservoir this year a single gate was opened, just to maintain the tradition.

As per the custom, a puja was organized at the dam site before opening the gate. Senior officials and dignitaries of the district were invited on the occasion. The ritual has been an annual feature at the dam since it was opened in 1957, sources said.

“Every year, during the month of July we discharge the first floodwater from the reservoir to make the reservoir ready to store heavy inflow of upspring water. This year though we have water in the reservoir, we do not want to discharge much water as we feel it would hamper irrigation and power generation,” said R K Panda, executive engineer of Hirakud dam circle.

The world’s biggest earthen dam has a total of 64 sluice gates (40 on the left and 24 on the right side of the dam) and 34 crest gates (21 on the left and 13 on the right side of the dam) with a total length of 10.759 km long right dykes and 9.337 km of left dykes. The total length of the main dam is about 4.84 km that connects Burla town on the right and Hirakud town on the left. About 15 thousand cusec water is approximately discharged through one sluice gate per second.

As per official sources, the water level of the reservoir was 605.35 feet on Tuesday and about 28 thousand cusec water was discharged through the gate and canals. The dam was receiving 1.33 lakh cusecs water per second as of on Tuesday, source said.


Dam water rule may be revised

The state government is considering revising the rule curve (a set of guidelines) to regulate water in the Hirakud dam, official sources said on Saturday. A technical committee, constituted in the wake of alleged mismanagement of Hirakud reservoir waters leading to massive flood in the Mahanadi river in September 2011, has recommended to the state water resources department to make changes in the rule curve, which was last revised in 1988, sources said. The rule curve is a graph of water levels that is kept in mind while regulating dam waters.

“We are of the view that the rule curve should be revised keeping in view the rainfall patterns, siltation and other factors,” engineer-in-chief (water resources) P K Rout, who heads the technical panel. “We would soon refer to the Central Water Commission (CWC) to give its opinion in the matter,” he added.

The committee was formed last year on the recommendation of Governor M C Bhandare to inquire into the alleged irregularities in handling of Hirakud waters that caused the deluge in Mahanadi and its tributaries in September. A section of the civil society had also raised objections to the manner in which the water of Hirakud was managed and sought that the rule curve be revisited. The Opposition Congress and BJP had described the flood as “manmade” and demanded a CWC probe into the alleged wrongs in regulating the inflow and outflow of water into Hirakud, resulting in the flood.

In an attempt to avoid any such controversy this year, senior engineers of Odisha and Chhattisgarh discussed about water management in Mahanadi at Burla in Sambalpur on Friday. “We requested our Chhattisgarh counterparts to share with us information on release of water from their dams and reports of their rain gauge stations on the upstream of Mahanadi in quick time so that we could make our preparations. They agreed to do so,” said engineer-in-chief (planning and design) Baidhar Panda, who headed the Odisha delegation. “As Mahanadi originates in Chhattisgarh and a major part of its flows in that state, we are dependent on information from our neighbouring state to control flood in our side,” he added.