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Odisha government approaches CWC on opening of Kalma Barrage gates by Chhattisgarh

 The State government has brought to the notice of Central Water Commission (CWC) the abrupt opening of 46 gates of Kalma Barrage by its Chhattisgarh counterpart.

Principal Secretary, Water Resources department Pradeep Jena has written to the CWC Chairperson in this regard today, official sources said. Strongly reacting to the decision of the Government of Chhattisgarh to empty reservoir following widespread rains to prevent flooding in the upstream of river Mahanadi, Jena informed CWC that the State government was kept in dark about such development.

As a riparian State, Odisha deserves information to be shared over release of flood waters so that the State Water Resources department could make precautionary arrangements.   In fact the strained relationship between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over Kalma barrage deteriorated further with the neighboring State opening 46 gates in a bid to prevent flooding in the upstream of Kalma.

While both the states were locked in a battle recently over non-release of water from the barrage by Chhattisgarh government, the latest decision to empty the reservoir following widespread rains in the upstream of Hirakud Dam Reservoir (HDR) has left Odisha infuriated.

Jena has said the CWC need to look into the matter as the State government was not kept in the loop on the matter. The principal secretary said Chhattisgarh government has not shared information with Odisha on the release of water despite an agreement on it at a meeting of officials of both the states in May. Sources said Chhattisgarh government’s unilateral action not only makes Hirakud Dam vulnerable, but also threatens flooding of areas downstream at a later stage.

This also calls for reworking of the rule curve as the flow of water into Hirakud dam will depend on the whims of Chhattisgarh government, sources added. While the barrage has become the bone of contention, it had also strained relationship between the two states with Odisha government moving the Supreme Court over the decision of Chhattisgarh to construct the barrages and refusing to release water during non-monsoon period affecting livelihood and agriculture.

Today, Jena has also written to the Principal Secretary Water Resources of government of Chhattisgarh pointing out the lapse on their part by keeping Odisha in dark about release of water through 46 gates of kalma Barrage.

While Chhattisgarh government is opening gates of barrage without informing the riparian State, if it opens the major dams in monsoon keeping in dark Odisha, it will create havoc in the downstream, apprehend officials in the Water Resources department.


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