The demand of Water for Domestic use , Agricultural use, Industrial use is increasing day by day. When we try to meet this water requirement from ground water , it is found that the G.W. level is going down & down, then we propose to increase the G.W. level by storing rain water. It means that only rainwater has the capacity to meet our water requirement. By grace of Lord Jagannath ,Odisha is getting sufficient rainfall and can meet all our water requirement . But very unfortunately we have not taken proper care for optimum use of rain water. So we face draught in Western Odisha and flood in delta region all most every year. So if we can harvest rain water, we can solve the Draught and Flood problems of Odisha , which are very vital hindrances for the development of Odisha.
To harvest Rain Water the most effective way is to construct Major & Medium Dam Projects. Considering the Rehabilitation Problems we can not go for Mega Projects like Tikarpada, Manivadra etc. , but we can construct Major and Medium Dams across Tributaries of River Mahanadi, Telnadi etc. , because the concept of Small Dams and Check Dams is not suitable to the nature of Rain fall and topography of Odisha ,it may be suitable for States like Gujrat, Rajastan etc. This fact can be established from the works executed so gar in Odisha. It high time to take account of the works done so far. Since Independence we have spent a huge amount of money for irrigation works through various schemes through different departments . We can put the entire expenditure in 2 groups. Group-A- Small Dams, Check Dams, Dry stone Dams , Million Wells, Marudi Mahabandha, Lift Irrigation Projects etc. These projects are taken up trough – DRDA ( RLEGP,EAS,NREP, NAREGA, MNAREGA,Etc.), Soil Conservation Department, Lift Irrigation Corporation, Minor irrigation Organisation etc. Group- B- Major and Medium Irrigation Projects ( Dams, Barrage, Diversion Weirs, etc.) constructed by Irrigation Department latter on named as W.R. Deptt.
Since 1st. five year plan if add up all the money spent on Group-A projects ,it will be 10 times the money spent on Group- B projects. But if we find out the actual irrigation potential available , for Group –B projects it will be 10 times of Group -A projects. More over in case of Group –B projects ,the Govt. gets back the return in a few years and after that it continues to earn a huge revenue from the irrigated area. If we take the case of Kalahandi dist., we find that before 12 years Kalahandi dist. was known for starvation & malnutrition. Govt. was spending hundreds of crores of rupees every year to provide food and employment to the poor people of the Dist. still it was not effective. But only when the Indravati provided irrigation, all the people got food and employment. Now there are 150 nos. of automatic Rice Mills in Kalahandi, perhaps the only Dist. in the world having so many Rice Mills. And now Govt. is earning hundreds of crores of rupees in way of various Tax on goods sold. ( Cars, Bikes, T.V.,A.C., Cloth, Medicine, Petrol-Diesel etc.) only Indravati Project could bring so much change in Kalahandi . The cost of Indravati Irrigation Project was only 400 Crores.
So if we really want that our Odisha should develop ,we must complete all the ongoing projects of Group-B within earliest possible time and simultaneously take steps to execute all the feasible Projects of Group-B, by investing all the available funds for developmental works. For optimum use of water we should adopt an integrated approach , the area which can not be covered under Group-B projects should be taken up under Group-A projects. In Odisha we have 60 lakh Hectare of Land under cultivation , Group –B projects can provide Irrigation to 45 lakh Ha. and the balance can be taken care by Group-A projects.
Apart from providing water for Irrigation , these projects will also provide drinking water to many cities and villages. The canal will serve thousands poor people as Bathing Ghats, cloth washing , water for Cattle etc. They can also enjoy the charm of swimming pools in canals and reservoirs. For entertainment of people gardens like Brundavan Garden of Karnataka can be developed. We can fill up the village Tanks ( most of the villages in Odisha are having 2 to 3 Ponds, which are facing water scarcity due to construction of Road and Buildings etc. ,which has blocked the natural valley supplying water to these tanks.) the project will raise the Ground water Level in the ayacut, which help the trees for healthy growth. Thus we can enrich the environment ,and the people will live happily and will have sound health.
These projects will save Electric Power as the water from the river to our fields will flow under gravitational force. We have seen the pollution due to fly ash of thermal power plants. This fly ash some time damages the cultivated land also. The energy we save is equal to the energy we generate.
Water is the 1st. requirement for any Human civilization ,and Rivers are the most suitable source of Water to meet our requirement. That is why since ancient age Human Civilization all over the World continue to develop along the rivers. Very often the flood water of Rivers damage the life and properties of Human, but still we continue to live on River banks. Most of the developed Cities are located on River Banks. Whenever we want a city to develop away from river , we take-off Canals from River , create artificial rivers and convey the river water to our place of requirement. To divert the River Water to a canal we need a Dam across the River , which is a must for our development. This is a natural action to be taken up as per the topography of the land. So there is very little scope for discussion on it. In ancient Bharat the King Bhagith executed Ganga Channel to irrigate the dry lands of Northern Bharat, and he is remembered till date for this great work.
From the facts discussed above it very clear that ,there is no substitute to Major & Medium Dams Projects. The main bottle neck for execution of such projects is te faulty Land acquisition and R&R policy of Govt. of Odisha. Other stated have made so many amendments in LA act-1894, but Odisha is far behind.
The Govt. of Odisha makes great disparity between the land loosers of Industry & Irrigation projects, which can not be justified by any intelligential arguments. When the Govt. is ready to pay 20 to 40 lakhs of rupees per acre for LA case of Industry ,it offers only Rs.40,000=00 for irrigation projects, and in R&R also there is huge disparity. In such a situation how and why we assume that the submerged area people are anti-project. The politicians and the bureaucrats take special interest to solve the LA problems of any Industry for the reasons best known to every body, but the most unfortunate thing is that for LA problems of Irrigation projects no body bothers to even hear the grievances of the people of submerged area. The LA case of irrigation projects should get more weightage than Industry, as the irrigation is more beneficial for the common people, for example the Hirakud Dam was constructed at the cost of Rs. 100 crores and at the same time the Roorkela Steel plant was constructed with many times more investment. Now we find that Hirakud has considerably developed the life of lakhs of people in thousands of villages at the same time Govt. is getting Tax in thousand crores. But Roorkela could not bring any change in the villages of Sundargarh Dist.
The reasons for delay in execution of Lower Suktel Irrigation Project is due to total mismanagement by the concerned Govt. officials and Political leaders. They always try to put the blame on The people of Submerged area to hide their mismanagement and corrupt practices.
Er. M.L. Agrawal.
Chief Engineer ( Rtd.)