BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday asked Raman Singh, Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh to certify free flow of water in the Mahanadi River by opening the gates of Kalma barrage which was closed by the neighboring state lately.
By objecting the one-sided decision of the government of Chhattisgarh to stop flow in the inter-state river, Naveen wrote a letter to Raman by pointing out that the move has produced severe suffering downstream affecting people in Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Bargargh districts, resulting in prevalentturbulence. “The unrest may go out of control if free flow downstream Kalma barrage in Mahanadi River is not reinstatedstraightway,” he wrote.
Official sources said out of 66 gates of the barrage, Chhattisgarh is releasing water through a 40-cm gap of only one gate, releasing about 1700-1800 cusec of water from the barrage.
“I emphatically state that this unilateral action of your government in closing the gates of Kalma barrage and stopping free flow of water is wholly contrary to the inter-state riparian rights as per the 1945 understanding (under the chairmanship of Dr B R Ambedkar) when the Hirakud dam was planned,” Naveen wrote.
Naveen said when his government has filed a statutory complaint under the Inter-State River Water Disputes Act 1956, with specific references to six barrages include Kalma, and a suit in the Supreme Court, “It is expected of your government to maintain status quo regarding free flow in Mahanadi river at Kalma barrage.”
“You are requested to instruct the officials of your water resources department to immediately open the gates of Kalma barrage and ensure free flow of water in Mahanadi River,” Naveen wrote.
Kalma has a storage capacity of 50.39 million cubic metre. The Chhattisgarh government has promised to supply 223.83 MCM of water to eight industries. It also proposes to generate of 7,800 megawatt hydel power from the barrage.