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Indravati's dark development and dam's black dream!
With these promises and assurances Indravati Dam project had been completed. Yet again to fool the people government formed Hazra Committee and in later life this Committee's environmental assessment and dam’s impact on downstream Report was kept under wraps by the government. After the dam project the marooned and displaced' lives were shattered. Neither elected government nor any administration, until date, tired to comprehend the magnitude of the problem.

In 1998, Harza committee set-up and he submited the report. Harza Committee" apprehended that after construction of the project. Down stream people will not get any water. Most affected area shall be up to 35 Kms from the dam site (ie. Up to configuration of Telengiri and Indravati). From 35 to 80 Kms ie. upto configuration ofTuri and Indravati river, the affect shall be reduced slightly (Nabarangpur is about 56 Kms from dam site). 75 nos lift irrigation points will be abandoned. Fertile land of Nabarangpur, Kotpad and Borigumma area will be dry. Fish production, Animal & Husbandry, drinking water problem for men, Animal and birds; on river bank will be affected seriously.

Odisha can not be able to release 45 TMC water to Madhya Pradesh (now Chatisgarh); due to complete stoppage of water on downstream of Indravati dam. Tosort out immediate need of downstream people (till construction of irrigation projects like Turi, Telengiri, Bhaskel, Bagri, Lower Indravati), the committee suggested, to release 5.5 cubic meter per second (cu mecs) of water from Indravati dam and 1.5 cu mecs water from Muran dam ie. to release 7 cu mecs in Indravati river. This is required for drinking water on the downstream of Indravati river bank but this will not meet the irrigation requirement.

To construct the proposed irrigation projects (on downstream area) immediately. To dig 300 deep tube wells in the most effective areas between Indravati and Muran dam. In May 1998 in the 24th Rehabilitation advisory committee meeting, it was decided, not to Release 7 cu mecs of water as proposed by Harza Committee. Decided to construct 5 check dams on the down stream of River Indravati to solve drinking water problem. One permanent barrage at Usaripadar to activate 11 lift Irrigation points. To dig 300 bore wells. as suggested by Harza committee, in between Indravati and Muran Dam.

The construction of Upper Indravati dam, over Indravati River, Podagada River, Kapur river and Muran river and completely banishment of Kapur river, Podagada river and Muran river from geographical map of un-divided Koraput district have violated many rights, laws etc of the country. Some of them are given below. Violation of Riparian right in Indravati dam is real concern.

As per riparian right, any body who owns land on the bank of a stream I river has right to reasonable use of water for his need. The down stream beneficiaries of a river have the right to use river water. This is violated by not releasing water on the down stream of Indravati dam.

Violation of Krishna - Godavari Tribunal is another iregular work has promoted by governemnt. As per final order (class III-iii-use and measurement) "Use of domestic and Municipal water supply with in the basin shall be 20% of the quantity of water diverted or lifted from the water or any of its tributaries or from any reservoir, storage or canal".

Here the Godavari basin water (ie. Water ofIndravati river and its three tributaries ie. Podagada, Kapur and Muran river) is transferred to Mahanadi basin (through Hati - Tel river). As per project report in average 75 cubic meter per second of water shall be diverted from Godavari basin. 20% of ~ 5 cumecs I.e. 15 cubic meter per second of water should have been released in to Indravati river after construction of the dam.

The great illegal work is in Indravati dam is violation of state water policy 2007. As per state water policy 2007, the priority for use of stream/river water is laid down. Priorities are drinking water, Domestic use of water for Human, animal consumption. Release of water in river for maintaining sustainability of Ecology. Irrigation, Agriculture, Fisheries, hydro power, Industries including Agro Industries and Navigation and other use of water such as Tourism etc.

This is first violation of state water policy and 2nd Violation of state water Policy 2007 are,as per state water policy 2007 - Diversion of water from one basin to another basin can be done only from a "water surplus basin" to' a "Water scarcity basin". Indravati river sub basin (under Godavari basin) was never a "water surplus basin". So transfer of water from Indravati river sub. basin (Godavari basin) to Mahandi basin (Hati and Tel river sub basin) is a violation of state water policy. By stopping flow of water of Indravati river and other 3 tributaries; Govt have violated Human right, Fundamental rights etc. also.

By miss guiding the public the Administratrators and Politicians including some vested interested persons are giving impression to the people that Irrigation projects will solve the down stream problems of Upper Indravati Project. But they are perhaps not aware that, Complete stoppage of water in Indravati river, Kapur river, Podagad river and Muran river (Down Stream of Dam) and complete submergence of Chabri and Gulgar river, have created tremendous drinking water problem, ecological sustainability is affected, inter state dispute. between Odisha and Chhattisgarh is increased .

“Despite generation of bright electricity illumination we get to discern the quandary of the shrieks of masses in the dark. Since the last 25 years, during the silver jubilee celebrations of the dam, the government claims to have developed the area, but on the contrary thousands and thousands of people are striving for a spoon of salt, a drop of kerosene, and as a parched throat waiting expectantly for a ladle of water is a sight that can move the hardest of hearts to tears,” said Banchhanidhi.

The traditional irrigation system suddenly came to a grinding halt. Promises were made for 300 deep bore-wells, revival of 75 lift irrigation (LI) points and another 11 LI points would be set up. Finally, 5 medium check dams construction all were hollow promises. Since the last 30 years the people living in the downstream areas of the Indravati are found looking askance at the skies. Further, the very fructification of these promises looked absolutely remote for the people and their lands since the last 30 years, and they kept wondering about the practicability of the promises vis-a-vis water when, how, and who would give remained an unsolved question for one and all.

Construction of irrigation project is a regular process. State Govt 's policy is to irrigate 35% cultivable area in each block. At present the %ge of Irrigation in Nabarangpur district is about 18% (as per govt figure). Nabarangpur block - 24.76% Tentulikhunti block - 9.8%, Nandahandi, 17.28% Kosagumuda - 10.55%, Jhorigaon -18.52%, Raighar - 15.63%, Chandahandi - 33.30%, Papadahandi -11.64%, Umorekote - 33.72%, Dabugaon - 15.92%.

But actual, figure is less than·18% (non official figure is only 10 to 12%). To achieve 35% irrigation target (assured by govt), Mother 30,000 hectare is to be irrigated and Govt is bound (promised) to do this. They will do .35% irrigation not only in Nabarangpur district but also in other 29 districts of Odisha. So govt is not making any extra favour to Nabarangpur district people by proposing irrigation projects and the construction of irrigation projects are not in lieu of Indravati dam, but it is a normal activities of state govt.

Editorial NOTE: This article is categorized under Opinion Section. The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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