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Naveen to lay stone for barrage today

Staff Reporter

‘The proposed barrage will be a fitting reply to Andhra Pradesh government, says Energy Minister

— Photo: Lingaraj Panda

Reaching out: Energy Minister Surya Naryan Patro interacting with tribal women at the Special Circuit House in Berhampur on Tuesday

BERHAMPUR: Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik would lay the foundation stone for the construction of a barrage on the upstream of the Mahendratanaya River at Dambapur in Gajapati district on Wednesday.

It is a retaliatory action of the Orissa Government to counter Andhra Pradesh which was planning a project downstream of the river.

The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S.Rajasekhara Reddy had laid the foundation of its proposed project at Regulapadu in Srikakulam district on April 4.The Orissa Chief Minister would be accompanied by State Energy Minister, Surya Narayan Patro and a high level team during the foundation stone laying ceremony at Dambapur.

During his short stay in the city on Tuesday on his way to Dambapur, Mr. Patro told newsmen that the proposed barrage would be fitting reply to the Andhra government, which had violated the 1962 inter-State agreement by going ahead with its recent Mahendratanya project without consulting Orissa.

He accepted that the Orissa government had also not made any official communiqué with the Andhra government regarding its proposed barrage upstream.

The Orissa project would involve construction of two barrages. One on Mahendratanya at Dambapur and the other on a tributary attached to it at Jalanga. The whole project is to cost around Rs. 38 crore and it is expected to be completed in 11 months, said Mr. Patro.

After completion, the new barrages would irrigate around 3050 hectares of land in Rayagada, Gosani and Guma blocks of Gajapati district. It would also enhance drinking water supply to Paralakhemundi town. Mahendratanaya, a tributary of the Bansadhara river, originates near Tuparasingi village in Gajapati district, and criss-crosses the two border states. But four-fifths of the river flows through Gajapati and Rayagada districts of Orissa. The recent Andhra project involves construction of a sluice on the left bank of the Mahendratanaya river through which water is to be diverted into a diversion channel to flow into a proposed reservoir.

Orissa had objected to this project with the fear that diversion of water from the river would lead to extreme water shortage in Gosani, Rayagada, Guma blocks and Paralakhemundi town in Gajapati district of Orissa.

Moreover, Andhra had not taken Orissa into confidence before taking up the project.

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