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Odisha's Indravati river damaged downstream!
Undivided Koraput district lost many things due to construction of the dam. A greenery area became drought prone, 76 Nos lift Irrigation points became defunct, 3768 ( officially 2614) families were displaced, 73 (officially 48) villages of undivided Koraput district submerged in reservoir, 2983 acre forest land lost for construction of colony, rehabilitation camp etc.

1572 hectare forest area of un-divided Koraput district submerged, Downstream of Indravati river became dry, Downstream of Podagada, Kapur and Muran river are non existence, Number of Rehabilitation problems, social problems faced by displaced persons, Number of environmental problems faced by downstream people like drinking water for man and animal, and urban water supply industrial water supply.

Even though fertilizer consumption has increased by about 5 times yield rate has been decreased, due to non availability of irrigation facilities after construction of the dam. There is depletion in ground water table. No alluvial Soil (Potu mati) found on downstream river bank due to stoppage of water on downstream of the dam as result the land have lost its fertile. These are some the few loses of Koraput district. But the losses of ecology, environment, socio-economic factors, loss of agriculture production etc. are unrecoverable.

Dam is the cause for the death of rivers. A river named as Chabri was joining with Muran River before the present Muran dam site. It was a perennial river. But now the entire river is inside the reservoir. Similarly Gulgar river which was joining with Indravati River much before the present Indravati dam site, is now totally inside the reservoir. That is all together 5 rivers (Podagad river, Kapur river, Muran river, Chabri river, Gulgar river) are now non existence in the geographical map of un divided Koraput district

The high lands of Indravati river bank on downstream side became dry and water bearing capacity of the soil considerably reduced due to non flow of water in the river. Thus even in rainy season, the yield rate considerably reduced. By this about one lakh acer of land have been affected.

Thousands of downstream people of undivided Koraput district have lost their livelihood. Even the upper stream’s large number of poor and medium farmers and agricultural workers did not get the real benefit. Some mafia farmers of Andhra, local landlords and affluent farmers, when the dam project commenced, paid a high price for the agricultural fields in order to grab it because the innocent farmers had no futuristic vision, whatsoever, that their land price would escalate once the dam would be constructed.

Being under a gross misconception that their land would become drought-prone they sold it sans batting an eyelid. As the real farmers have lost their rights to land and farming they compelled to work as bonded labourers or started working as daily wage workers on the agricultural field. In the process they were also exploited by the rich mafia farmers as share-cash croppers. Albeit 30 years have passed not a single Govt. nor administration has been able to understand this miserable plight of these marginal farmers at this Indravati’s irrigation site.

Many villagers of Thuamul Rampur block complain that their villages had not been surveyed properly. “Our villages had been surveyed during summer. Secondly, the water resources survey staff declared that as per the reservoir’s capacity these villages would not be affected but they were oblivious of what would happen in the event of heavy rainfall or floods when this happened and water overflew from the reservoir it could devastate our village and life.

In fact almost every year during the rainy season, we are facing such problems as the reservoir discharges water. Sleep is a dream for us during the rains and when the water reservoir capacity falls to get a drop of water to drink is yet another daydream. The other great threat for our lives is soil erosion in our agricultural land. After the dam and its small tributaries, streams and nullahs beds affect our fertile field by severe soil erosion. Government, Water Resources department, district administration and concerned soil erosion officials least bother to gauge the threat. Sad to say the Odisha Govt.’s Soil Erosion Dept. remains moribund.

With a plethora of promises and by the devastation of livelihood, experts’ reports are ignored and are not even given a look-in at the peril of thousands of lives. Despite all this the Govt. went ahead and built the dam. State, national and international laws of the rivers and dams have been openly violated by the Odisha Govt. and its officials.


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 merinews.com. In case you have a opposing view, please click here to share the same in the comments section.
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