|River Rushikulya (Source: Flicker)|
‘Rushikulya Bachao Manch (RBM)' has urged the State government to initiate the process to link the Mahanadi and the Rushikulya rivers on its own. According to RBM, the project is not having any legal or technical stumbling block. “The Supreme Court has opined that the Central and State governments should give priority to implementing the river-linking project and the pre-feasibility report of National Water Development Agency (NWDA) is also in favour of the Mahanadi-Rushikulya river linking from Baramul,” says RBM chairman Ram Chandra Panda. Mr. Panda, who was the former deputy speaker of the State Assembly, has been making the demand of RBM to link the Mahanadi and the Rushikulya rivers since 1986.
As per the pre-feasibility report of NWDA, the total cost of link canal to connect the two rivers from Baramul is estimated to be Rs. 3806.61 crore. Annual cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs. 402.43 crore, while its annual benefit from irrigation, power and municipal use is worked out to be Rs. 412.88 crore. Seven villages with population of 1331 are likely to be affected by the barrage to be constructed at Baramul.
The proposed link canal is to start from proposed Baramul barrage on the Mahanadi river.
The link canal would irrigate 1,00,000 hectares in Nayagarh, Khurda, and Ganjam districts.
The project also envisions annual power generation of more than 373.30 megawatt. The RBM activists say the State government has also committed in the State Assembly to take forward the Mahanadi-Rushikulya river linking plan. “Now it is time for the State government to keep up the promise and start work on the project as soon as possible,” says Mr. Panda.
Source: The Hindu