Officials swing into action to ensure free flow of water

Agitation by villagers could stop diversion of water source of an irrigation project in Sanakhemundi tehsil of Ganjam district.

Following agitation by agitating villagers administrative officials from Wednesday have started removal of an obstruction on a mountain stream which had been put by another group of persons to divert the water flowing in it. Along with it the canal dug up from the point of illegal diversion on the upstream is also being filled up.

Binay Subuddhi, executive engineer of the Minor Irrigation Division I of Ganjam district, said the irrigation project which was the apple of discord was a diversion weir near Pudamari on a natural stream named Taptapani Nala.

The stream emerged from Taptapani hot spring area. As per Mr Subuddhi, it was an old project which had been renovated a few years ago. After renovation this diversion weir irrigation project was providing irrigation to 450 hectares near Pudamari.

But a few months back inhabitants living around eight km upstream of the project near Sriramnagar had tried to divert the water of the stream for their own use. For it they had blocked the flow of water by putting up large boulders in the path of the stream. They had also tried to divert the water of the stream from the spot by digging up an unauthorised canal from the spot.

Due to it water flow to the diversion weir project near Pudamari stopped affecting scope of irrigation downstream.

The unauthorised diversion of water of the stream at the upstream was opposed by the beneficiaries of the project especially from Kansamari, Dharmapur, Chhanameri, Singapur etc. They had got panicked that this may lead to drought like situation in their area.

Farmers of the area approached the administration and irrigation department protesting against the illegal obstruction of the stream upstream.

They also resorted to road blockade near Dengaosta on June 11. On that day the local tehsildar, police and irrigation officials promised to remove obstruction on the upstream of the mountain stream within three days. And the process of removal of obstruction was started a day after that.

State vice-president of peasants’ organisation Odisha Kushak Sabha (OKS) Kailash Sadangi blamed the administration and irrigation department for this whole issue.

According to him the administrative officials and irrigation department should have stopped construction of obstruction of the stream when this illegal attempt was being made.

The delay in action led to tension in the area, he alleged.

Similar allegation was also made by the Ganjam district unit of the CPI (M) which said irrigation department should learn from this event and nip similar unauthorised attempts at initial stages in future.