Berhampur, September 16 (LocalWire): Experts have called upon the state government to take immediate steps to save river Rushikulya, considered the lifeline of Ganjam.
Speaking at the workshop on saving the rivers here on Sunday, the delegates pointed out that the existence of river Rushikulya was under threat due to overuse of its water for different purposes and siltation of the river beds.
The delegates, including academicians, activists, farmers, and engineers demanded that the government should chalk out a proper plan for the protection of the river.
“Several major rivers in the world have died due and now the time has come to raise the voice and urge the government for the protection of rivers in the state, including Rushikulya,” Mahanadi Bachao Andolan convener Sudarshan Das said.
The workshop was organised by the Forum for Ganjam, an organisation working for the development of the district in collaboration with Mahanadi Bachao Andolon, that is spearheading the agitation to save Mahanadi.
The workshop was presided over by the Forum for Ganjam convener Sudhir Rout.
“The 165-km long river Rushikulya had the water spreading area of 957.53-sq.km in 2000. This will be reduced to 714 sq.km areas by 2050 according to the calculations made by the engineers,” a retired engineer of Rural Water Supply and Sanitation department PK Patra said.
He further warned that the river might shrink further if people continue to overuse its water.
“Besides the irrigation, the river and its tributaries also provide drinking water to almost the entire Ganjam district. The government has started work of a mega project to supply drinking water to around 150 villages in Krushna Prasad block in Puri district and 50 villages in Ganjam by tapping water from river Rushikulya from Kansariganda, which might pose a threat to the river in future,” Patra said.
“Aska town, which is situated on the banks of river Rushikulya and it’s tributary Badanadi, face flood threat every year for last some years due to the siltation of the rivers,” Santosh Panigrahy, an advocate, said.