Keonjhar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently inaugurated the much awaited Anandapur barrage which has been built at a cost of Rs 475 crore.
Surprisingly, though the ambitious project is mainly meant for boosting the agriculture sector in Keonjhar district, farmers of the neighbouring district of Balasore will benefit more from it, farmers and members of Nagarika Manch, a local outfit, alleged.
They have sensed some political motives in the alleged discriminatory water distribution from the barrage project.
This project will supplement the Bidyadharpur barrage project.
The allegation of farmers and various outfits stand vindicated from the fact that the left side canal of the project is capable of irrigating 53,800 hectares of land in Balasore and Bhadrak while the right side canal will be able to irrigate only 5,000 hectares of land in Keonjhar.
Meanwhile, the members of the Nagarika Manch, have apprised the Chief Minister of this fact.
The outfit pointed out that the waters of river Baitarani are being used in other districts, but irrigation in Keonjhar is not being strengthened. Sadly, its water is being used to transport minerals through pipes in slurry method.
It also alleged that a mega irrigation project like Kanpur has not been commissioned even decades after its construction.
The outfit also pointed out that the left side canal of the Rengali project and that of Mayurbhanj project can irrigate a major part of Keonjhar, but these projects are not being executed. These projects have been dragging for the last 35 years.
Other outfits alleged that the construction work of the Kanpur project at Basudevpur has been going on for the last 40 years, but there has been no sight of its completion.
They lamented that the inordinate delay of the Kanpur project betrays the ‘negligent intent’ of the state government towards Keonjhar district.
Notably, the CM had laid the foundation stone for the Anandapur barrage back in 2009. Once the water is stored to its capacity, it will irrigate nearly 60,000 hectares of farmland in Keonjhar and Balasore districts.
Areas like Ghasipura, Hatadihi and Anandapur in Keonjhar district, and Khaira, Oupada, Soro, Bahanaga, Nilagiri, Remuna and Balasore town in Balasore district are going to be benefitted from the barrage.
The barrage, constructed at a cost of Rs 475 crore, has a capacity of holding 350 lakh cusecs of water. Water can be drained out through eight sluice gates.