Jagatsinghpur, July 23 (LocalWire): Rivers flowing through Jagatsinghpur district have dried up affecting crops, industries and household usage.
Scanty rainfall and stopping of Mahanadi water by the Chhattisgarh government by constructing a number of dams and barrages upstream has worsened the situation and Mahanadi and its branches, which are the lifeline of thousands of people in the district, have completely dried up.
Nearly eight rivers including Mahanadi, Devi, Chitropla, Paika, Hansua, Gobari, Balia and Alaka flow through the district.
Three of them, Gobari, Balia, Alaka, are treated as dead rivers due to encroachments and blockage of water. During rainy season, these rivers see some flow but this year the rivers are parched due to scanty rainfall and acute shortage of water in the Hirakuda reservoir.
The district Fisheries Officer, Subrat Kumar Das, said, ‘the state government is aware about the water crisis and the fisheries department had sought the intervention of Central Inland Fisheries Research Institute, Barrackpore, six months back for a detailed project report to activate the dead rivers and mitigate the water crisis towards cultivation and drinking water purposes but no DPR has yet been prepared or submitted to the Central government.’
Farming and fishing have been severely affected while day to day needs of riverside villages have been affected.
Thousands of domestic animals are also living in critical condition due to acute shortage of water.
Former MP, Bibhu Prasad Tarai, said, ‘The drying up of the river has become a cause of concern for the residents of the port town which lies downstream.
This will not only deprive the port town of drinking water but will also affect various industries operating in the region.’
Realising the crisis, he had proposed to the state government to implement inter-river connection with water flowing to dead rivers.
‘This project could help stock water in dead rivers and help cultivation and drinking water during crisis but the state government dis not pay heed,’ Tarai added.
Experts said due to lack of water flow, the ecosystems in these rivers are in peril.
The biodiversity is suffering due to delays in resolving the water sharing issue between Chhattisgarh and Odisha. The river bed is now filling up with piles of sand.
Scanty rainfall has added to the woes of the farmers as their crops have been severely affected.