Posts filed under ‘Hirakud’

Mahanadi turns poison basin at Sambalpur due to the indiscriminate pollution

Following is a report from The Pioneer:

The water sources in different parts of the town here, including the Mahanadi river, is getting unfit for human use in recent days due to the indiscriminate pollution and the prime cause behind is attributed to the sewage released into the Mahanadi at different points of the city here.

What adds to the woes is the scanty flow of water from the Hirakud Dam reservoir since the water level there also dips very fast in the summer, sources said.

Due to the restricted inflow from the Hirakud reservoir and the drain water of the town flowing into it, the bio-chemical oxygen demand in the Mahanadi has already reached an alarming stage and the water has become totally unfit for human use although it is the only alternative for thousands of people of Sambalpur town and downstream.

Situation has worsened to such a pass that, the Mahanadi water here has been classified as ‘D’ category by the Pollution Control Board while rest of the year it remains ‘C’.

“There have been long proposals to treat the sewerage water before discharging it to the Mahanadi at various points including Balibandha and Binakhandi, but the Municipality is hardly keen on this crucial issue,” informed State Pollution Control Board regional director SK Sahu, adding the summer turns to be the most crucial period of the year.

The other water bodies of the town, including ponds and wells, have been severely affected these days. The water looks ugly to open eyes and has turned green.

“People must be very much careful about using such water for bathing and all other purposes,” warns DHH dermatologist SS Mahapatra, adding they are sure to suffer many a skin ailment and water-born disease and even animal drinking such water also will suffer.

Although, Sambalpur houses many senior officials including the RDC, Collector, IG, no one seems to be serious on this crucial issue. Even the PCB, in a routine manner, just writes a letter to the Municipality authority with the onset of summer every year instead of initiating any legal actions, alleged a conscious citizen Bhawani Dixit.

It is high time the concerned authorities woke up to the occasion and clean Mahanadi for the larger interests of this historic town, locals demanded.


April 15, 2010 at 7:01 pm 1 comment

Water scarcity hits Orissa

This report is taken from The Pioneer:

Water scarcity has badly hit major parts of the State. In order to tackle the water scarcity and arrange drinking water for lakhs of people, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday took a review meeting and asked officials to take immediate steps so that people’s sufferings owing to water scarcity would be minimised during the ongoing summer.

Speaking to reporters, Housing and Urban Development Minister Badri Naryan Patro said that Berhampur, Sambalpur, Cuttack, Balanagir, Jharsuguda, Belpahar and Brajaraj Nagar have been affected. “With the assistance of the MCL, a barrage would be constructed for Jharsugura, Belpahar and Brajaraj Nagar,” he said.

For the Berhampur city, an ambitious plan has been chalked out. Two large ponds would be dug. Each pond would be dug in an area of 100 acres of land on the outskirts of Berhampur city within a 10 km radius. The remaining 250 crore would be spent on the digging of these two ponds.

To provide water facilities for the Balangir city, the on-going low-voltage crisis would be solved. Rs 113 crore would be spent to bring water from Naraj to the campus of NISER, IIT and villages of Jatani and Khurda.

Special squad would be formed to provide emergency services to the people of Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Puri and Balangir. More than 40 drilling machines would be taken on hire to install nearly 1000 tube-wells by the end of May. “It has been decided in principle that new divisions would be created and more staffs would be recruited in the coming days,” he said. In order to overcome land acquisition process, Chief Minister directed the officials to go for advance land possession.

April 8, 2010 at 7:17 pm Leave a comment

Farmers are committing suicide in western Orissa as Hirakud dam is failing:Study

Following is a report by IANS published in The Hindu:

Dozens of farmers have committed suicide in Orissa in the past one year as the Hirakud dam is no longer serving its purpose, says a new study that warns of a grimmer situation in the coming days if urgent steps are not taken.

The dam, built across the Mahanadi river, about 350 km from Bhubaneswar in the district of Sambalpur, is one of the longest in the world. It is one of independent India’s early multipurpose river valley projects.

In the initial phase, it checked floods in the state’s coastal areas, provided electricity to factories and homes and supplied ample water in the canals to grow a second crop every year.

“However, now these functions have been considerably reduced,” said Rajkishor Meher, a reader in sociology at the government-run Nabakrushna Choudhury Centre for Development Studies in Bhubaneswar.

Government records show 3,509 farmers committed suicide in Orissa in the last 11 years. The opposition Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have alleged that at least 53 farmers committed suicide in the state in the past one year.

A years-long study by Meher on the plight of farmers at the tail ends of canals served by the dam is awaiting publication in the journal Contributions to Indian Sociology.

“The dam has almost lost its principal objective of irrigation promotion and agricultural development in the region,” Meher said.

“The system now hardly generates 30 percent of its installed hydro power capacity because of lack of adequate storage of water in the reservoir, obsolete technology and worn out machinery,” said the expert, who has authored several books related to sociology of development and on Orissa’s economy.

“Although floods in the Mahanadi was under control for some years, because of the silting of the riverbed by sand downstream of the dam, floods in the coastal region of the state have started recurring in a more aggravating form since 1980,” he said.

According to Meher, the dam project had displaced 101,000 people 50 years ago, a majority of them tribals.

“Given the rate of population growth and limited success of the past resettlement and rehabilitation process, it is not unfair to say that around 200,000 people of the original Hirakud oustees might still be impoverished by the project,” he said.

The reservoir submerged around 50,000 hectares of good farm land in 300 villages. As against that, it irrigated 157,790 hectares during the Kharif and 97,910 hectares during the Rabi seasons, according to official records.

“But at present due to silting of the reservoir and canals the tail end areas do not get adequate irrigation water for the second crop. The area deprived of a second crop is almost one-third of the created irrigated potential in the command area,” Meher said.

“So, the effective irrigation coverage for the second paddy crop is now available for hardly 60,000-70,000 hectares of agricultural land and that is at the cost of loss of 50,000 hectares of agricultural land and disruption of livelihood of around 40,000 displaced families at present.

“Plus, availability of water for agriculture shall be reduced in future, as the area surrounding the reservoir is now witnessing fast industrial growth and mining of coal.”

Meher said factories were taking more and more water from the Hirakud reservoir. “Before 1997 the total allocation of water to the industries of the region from the reservoir was 3,191,200 gallons per year. This has increased by 27 times in the past nine years and this is obviously at the cost of water for irrigation.

“In this scenario, the farmers in the tail end are going to suffer more and more.”

Meher wanted “immediate improvement” in the water management in the project’s command area. “If that is not done many small and marginal farmers who regularly borrow money for farming from various sources at high rates of interest may commit suicide.”

February 26, 2010 at 6:56 pm Leave a comment

War for Water of Hirakud Dam

January 27, 2010 at 9:06 pm Leave a comment

Big Dams and Protests in India: A Study of Hirakud Dam

 Following article is from Economic and Political Weekly:

Click here to download the complete article. 

January 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Thousands of migratory birds make Hirakud dam their home

Following is a report from the express

  • Govt. should consider opening a Centre for Ornithology in Sambalpur University. This can be done in collaboration with Department of Life Sciences, Sambalpur University.

As the winter sets in, migratory birds make the Hirakud dam reservoir their temporary abode. Over 50,000 birds of various varieties migrate here every year and stay for four months before flying back in the first week of March.

Much to the delight of wildlife experts and bird lovers, hordes of migratory birds have already descended on the Hirakud reservoir with many more expected soon.

Thousands of migratory birds from far-flung areas including the Caspian Sea, Baikal Lake, Aral Sea, Mongolia, Central and South East Asia and Himalaya region flock to the reservoir in the first week of November every year for winter sojourn. The winged guests stay about five months in the reservoir which forms the largest artificial lake in Asia with an area of 746 sq km and a shoreline of over 640 km.

Nearly 20-25 species of birds are seen in the reservoir and common among them are Common Pochard, Red Crusted Pochard, Great Duck Bill, Spot Bill (Grey Duck), Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Pond Heron, Painted Stork, Whiskered Tern, Indian River Tern, Gadwall, Red Wattled Lapwing and Black Winged Stilt.

They normally settle at Zero Point in Burla, Pitapali, Rampela, Budakanta, Launch Station, Balbaspur in Sambalpur district, Ubuda, Marang, Bhatlikanta, Desar, Ganakhulia, Unneishkhanda Mauza in Jharsuguda and Tamdei Rengali, Govindpur, Barduma in Ambhabhona block of Bargarh district.

However, the declining number of birds arriving at the reservoir and their overstay in the region have raised concern among the bird lovers.

Last year, a good number of birds stayed up till middle of May which is an unlikely behaviour for the birds. While the cause is yet to be ascertained, it is being attributed to climate change. Some experts also opine that safe living conditions and abundance of food may be the reasons behind longer stay.

Usually the arrival of birds is enumerated in January every year. As per reports, at least 56,834 birds of 21 varieties visited the reservoir in January 2005 while the number of birds declined to 49,174 of 26 varieties in January 2006. The number declined further to 36,740 of 18 varieties in January 2007 which went down to 22,443 this year.

Noted environmentalist Artabandhu Mishra said any comment on the number was premature as no study was made by any ornithologist in Hirakud reservoir like that of Chilika to assess the number of birds visiting the reservoir site.

Mishra said availability of food and safe living conditions are the factors that determine visit of migratory birds at a place. “Unfortunately, no one had tried to delve into the subject of finding out when and how the behaviour of migratory birds change. Unlike Chilika, Hirakud does not have ornithologists to study the behaviour of birds,” he added.

December 8, 2009 at 2:55 pm Leave a comment

Two per cent of water from the Hirakud reservoir is used industrially: Parliamentary affairs minister

Following is a report from the

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty today said that only 2 per cent of water from the Hirakud reservoir is being provided for industrial use.

To a question from Prafulla Majhi (Cong), the Minister reiterated that the State Government attaches top priority to drinking water supply followed by its use in environment protection. Then it is used for agriculture and generation of hydro electric power, he said, adding its use for industrial purposes comes last in the priority list.

The State Government has permitted 13 industrial houses to draw water from the Hirakud reservoir for industrial purposes. These industries draw 0.314 million acre feet water annually at the rate of 433.322 cubic feet for second (cusec) which is within the limit of 0.350 million acre feet fixed by the State Government, he said.

The live storage capacity of Hirakud reservoir is 3.91 million acre feet while water earmarked for industrial purposes is only 8.95 per cent. Now, industries are using 0.077 million acre feet water from the reservoir which is only 2 per cent, he said.

The Minister said  Rs 3.41 crore water tax had been collected from industrial houses in 2008-09. During the last five years water tax of Rs 7.73 crore was collected, he said.

November 24, 2009 at 8:47 am Leave a comment

Hirakud displaced are still neglected

Following is a report from The Dharitri:


November 9, 2009 at 10:10 am Leave a comment

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