The matter of concern is river Jaunra, is a tributary of Indravati but is has merged with Kolab river. Kolab and Indravati are connected by Jaunra. Jaunra flows on the border of Odisha and Chhatisgad. The level difference between Indravati and Kolab is 0.5 meters means Indravati is 0.5 meters above Kolab. In summer Indravati’s water flows into Jaunra and merges with Kolab. Chhatisgad border people come armed in large numbers and forcibly block the water flow of Jaunra. Thus, every year there are regular violent skirmishes between Chhatisgad and Odisha’s thirsty people. This present territorial water conflict will gradually snowball into a great deal of bloodshed on Jaunra’s water and become a national water conflict.
I saw Daitari Bisoi and Dasarathi Bisoi near Indravati dam. Both had lost their land and villages for the Indravati dam. They were working as daily labourers on the project site. They expressed a pathetic picture of the dam’s development dilemma. “Sunanagi, Jhiri, Rutukoodi, Dangaghat, Kutu, Phataguda and many more villages met the fate of watery graves. Water Resources (WR) and district administration officials assured us per head we would be paid Rs. 14,000/- to Rs. 30,000/- as well as agricultural land. They paid a meagre amount and said that the rest amount would be paid to us after displacement. The tragic part of these assurances was that those who were displaced and believed the official’s words became restless and interestingly those who had not been displaced and did not believe the official’s word too became restless after being victims of assault by police and district administration.
W.R. Dept. declared one person from every family would get employment. That promise remained just a promise. After a great deal of groveling at the feet of politicos and government officials we managed to get a Security Guard’s job on daily-wage-basis. It is sad to say that we are retrenched for 4 to 5 months every year. The matter of great concern after Baphlimali’s bauxite mining is that the longevity of the reservoir is diminishing. The toxic and muddy waste garbage is flowing and entering the reservoir and polluting it. As of now the water of the reservoir has turned muddy and if you keep it in a pot after while you can see the water is black in colour. Dead fishes are floating in this water and even domestic animals have died by having drunk that water. The reservoir water is no longer drinkable and a pungent smell emanates from it. Air pollution is also severely affecting the reservoir after the mining. As the reservoir is situated at the foothill of Baphlimali, all the toxic mining dust is being carried by the wind into the reservoir.”
“Baphlimali is in the catchment area of the Indravati reservoir. Around1600 sq.kms. catchment area’s water flows and mingles in the reservoir. The bauxite mining has affected the catchment area; resultantly the catchment’s toxic waste will come directly to the reservoir. The reservoir’s water ecology will be in a shambles and its bad impact will affect agriculture, human and domestic lives. Am surprised as to how no one from Govt. to administration is blind to these goings-on, as said by the then chief engineer N.K. Panigrahi.
As Biju Patnaik’s along with other leaders’ 1978 promises of 5 medium catch dam project, Not a single work (as assured above, have been started I completed). Only Telengiri medium irrigation project has been started in 2003. Rehabilitation and Resettlement work, not completed, canal work not started. The work of balance irrigation projects ie. Turi, Bangiri, Bhaskel, Lower Indravati projects have not yet been started. Now also Naveen, has indulged in assuaging the feelings of the people by saying to construct a new irrigation project in Nabarangpur district named as Nabarangpur canal. But after many years passed project report has not yet been prepared. So, if you have some time and would like to see the damaged life and the danger of the dam in the name of developments please go and see the Telingiri area. The spectre of development one can see how the Govt. puts slow poison in human life by the construction of the dam,” Mr. Panigrahi added further.
On the Indravati dam I was looking at the hilltop of Baphlimali and watching the ripples of the reservoir. I felt wind-water and Baphlimali-Indravati are waiting for their death and weeping. Probably, from these tears the reservoir has been created. I thought this capitalist Draconian development not only spread on the hill but also in the jungle and water.
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